The Hodge Hill byelection campaign began in earnest today after Labour named a city computer company boss as its candidate to succeed Terry Davis.
Liam Byrne, founder of EGS Group, won the backing of the Labour Party after beating scores of rivals for the right to defend Davis' 11,000 vote majority.
Following his selection, Liam Byrne, who is married with two children, vowed to tackle the teen gangs who plague local residents.
He said: "These yobs hang around shops and street corners, intimidating good, law abiding residents.
"There should not be no go areas for local people. It's time to get tough."
The battle for Hodge Hill has already turned dirty with attacks on the Liberal Democrat candidate Nicola Davies, who works for the Mobile Operators Association.
Labour and Tories have dubbed her an industry "spin doctor" because her job involves persuading local authorities to grant planning permission for controversial mobile phone masts.
This role is at odds with grass roots Liberal Democrats, who have fought anti-mobile mast campaigns in the city.
Influential city lobby group Birmingham Residents Against Masts, who blame masts for a range of health problems, has also urged members not to support Davies.
Spokeswoman Eileen O'Connor said: "She works for the Mobile Operators Association, is an ex-Orange and One2One employee, and her roots go deep into the mobile phone industry.
"I find it deeply worrying to hear that she will be representing Lib Dems as the candidate, bearing in mind the work of local Lib Dems such as Coun John Hemming in support of our campaign."
Liberal Democrat campaign manager, Ludlow MP Matthew Green accused Labour of a smear campaign and mud-throwing.
"They are just playing dirty to distract attention from their own candidate who has been imposed on the local Labour Party against its will by the leadership in London," he added.