George Galloway makes noisy return to Parliament after Rochdale by-election win

George Galloway gives a speech after being declared winner Rochdale Leisure Centre in the Rochdale by-election. Credit: PA

George Galloway’s victory speech lasted for almost ten minutes. He rattled through a long list of criticisms of the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer. He railed against the Labour-run council. And he insisted this result would cause the tectonic plates of British politics to shift.

"Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza," bellowed Rochdale’s new MP. His supporters here lapped it up. But many MPs back in Westminster are dreading the return of George Galloway. They believe his rhetoric is divisive and toxic and will only worsen the tensions already running high whenever the war in Gaza is discussed in Parliament.

The defeated Conservative candidate here - once named ‘Rochdale’s man of the year’ - Paul Ellison, was almost in tears after hearing George Galloway’s victory speech. “This is a dark day for Rochdale,” he told ITV News.

The mainstream parties shunned this campaign. Labour ditched their candidate early on. As did the Green Party. The Conservatives barely campaigned and the Liberal Democrats had very little presence. As a result, it’s difficult to read too much into the results and draw any firm conclusions.

But the chaotic - and at times shambolic - set of events in this by-election have helped contribute to George Galloway’s noisy return to parliament.

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