George Galloway aims to unseat Labour at Rochdale by-election

George Galloway. Pic: Workers Party.

George Galloway will contest the upcoming Rochdale by-election in an attempt to benefit from Muslim anger over the Labour Party’s support for Israel and its genocidal war on Gaza.

Announcing his candidature on Twitter, Galloway, 69, said: “I will be a candidate in the forthcoming Rochdale by-election. Someone has to teach #Starmer and #GenocideLabour a lesson.”

Galloway has made no further comment about his campaign but he will represent the Workers Party which says it will work to put an “end to imperialist wars and financial domination, starting with withdrawing from Nato.”

The by-election has been sparked by the death of Labour MP Tony Lloyd and is likely to take place next month.

Rochdale has a 30% Muslim population so Galloway is likely to benefit from a Muslim protest vote against Labour’s support for Israel.

However, the town is also the site of “grooming gang scandals” which have been exploited by the right-wing to demonise the Muslim community.

Galloway has benefitted from the Muslim vote several times before in elections. In 2005 he won the Bethnal Green and Bow seat and in 2015 he repeated this success in Bradford West.

Sign up for regular updates straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the latest news and updates from around the Muslim world!

He also benefited from a sizeable Muslim vote in Batley and Spen in 2021 although he did not win that election.

He began his political career in the Labour Party, serving as a Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead from 1987 to 2005. He gained attention for his fiery rhetoric and opposition to the Iraq War, famously clashing with U.S. senators during a Senate hearing in 2005.

In 2003, he was expelled from the Labour Party over his criticism of the Iraq War and subsequently founded the Respect Party. Galloway’s political ideology combines socialist principles with anti-war and anti-imperialist sentiments. He has been a vocal critic of Western interventionism and has advocated for Palestinian rights.

Azhar Ali. Pic: Twitter.

Galloway has also been heavily criticised (including by the Muslim community) for being sympathetic to Iran, Russia and Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

Despite this, he has remained a prominent figure in British politics and media, hosting radio and television shows and regularly appearing as a commentator on current affairs.

Meanwhile, Labour have chosen Azhar Ali, the opposition leader of Lancashire County Council, to fight the Rochdale by-election.

Kicking off his campaign, he said: “My promise to you is that I will be a strong voice for every community across our town. I will listen and and will get things done. After 14 years of Conservative failure people here in Rochdale have been left worse off. They have crashed our economy and brought our NHS to its knees. Only a Labour government will build an economy in the interests of working people here in Rochdale. Only Labour will rebuild our public services and make our streets safe.”

At the last election in 2019, Labour had a majority of nearly 10,000 votes over the Conservatives. This year the Tories, Liberal Democrats and Reform UK are among the other parties fielding candidates in the north west constituency.

Add your comments below

Previous articleIsraeli government minister calls for “voluntary migration” from Gaza
Next article“It will be impossible to win the war if we do not destroy UNRWA”