| George Galloway holds a rally at his Rochdale Headquarters after being declared winner of the Rochdale by election which was triggered after the death of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd | MR Online George Galloway holds a rally at his Rochdale Headquarters after being declared winner of the Rochdale by-election, which was triggered after the death of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd

Galloway sweeps to victory in Rochdale in vote ‘for Gaza’

Originally published: Morning Star Online on March 1, 2024 by Andrew Murray (more by Morning Star Online)  | (Posted Mar 02, 2024)

TRIUMPHANT George Galloway told Sir Keir Starmer “this is for Gaza” after sweeping to a sensational victory in the Rochdale by-election.

Mr Galloway took the seat with 40 per cent of the poll and a majority of nearly 6,000 over the runner-up, independent businessman David Tully.

His win can be attributed to a massive revolt, primarily among Rochdale’s Muslim community, against Labour’s backing for Israel’s Gaza genocide.

“Keir Starmer–this is for Gaza,” Mr Galloway declared after the results were announced in the early hours of Friday morning.

You have paid and you will pay a high price for the role you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on in occupied Palestine in the Gaza Strip.

This is going to spark a movement, a shifting of the tectonic plates in scores of parliamentary constituencies.

Labour is on notice that they have lost the confidence of millions of their voters who loyally and traditionally voted for them, generation after generation.

Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are two cheeks of the same backside and they both got well and truly spanked tonight.

For neither of the major parties to place in the first two in a parliamentary election is believed to be almost unprecedented.

Labour’s Azhar Ali, still on the ballot paper but belatedly disowned by the party after making conspiracist and anti-semitic remarks, got just 8 per cent of the vote, an astonishing drop of 44 per cent from Labour’s 2019 result even allowing for circumstances.

According to polling expert John Curtice, this was the biggest fall for a party since the second world war.

Labour claimed yesterday that it would have won if it had managed to get a supportable candidate in the field and apologised to the people of Rochdale for its failure.

Left campaign group Momentum however called it a “needless and self-inflicted loss” caused by Sir Keir’s factionalism.

The Tories came third with 12 per cent, a fall of more than 19 per cent, and climate change campaigner Mark Coleman, supported by a fringe of the Rochdale left, won 455 votes.

The Reform party’s Simon Danczuk, former Labour MP for the town who was disgraced after sending inappropriate messages to a 17-year-old girl, got a feeble 6 per cent, suggesting that the party had blundered in selecting a reprobate retread, although party leader Richard Tice blamed electoral malpractices.

The question exercising politics yesterday was whether the Rochdale result could be replicated elsewhere in the impending general election.

Mr Galloway certainly flung down the gauntlet, saying his Workers Party had “59 parliamentary candidates ready to go and we will stand in therefore three-score Labour seats and either defeat them ourselves or cause their defeat,” he said, adding that he would also support independent candidates backing the Palestinian cause.

Labour MPs in seats with a large Muslim population will certainly be looking over their shoulders nervously.

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