Rochdale by-election: George Galloway overturns 9,500 Labour majority to win seat

George Galloway overturned a Labour majority of more than 9,600 to win the Rochdale by-election and take the seat from the party after 14 years.

Mr Galloway, a former Labour and then Respect Party MP, will now become the Greater Manchester constituency's MP for the Workers Party of Britain.

He received 12,335 votes, compared to Azhar Ali's 2,402, who was originally selected as the Labour party candidate before the party removed its support after a series of recordings were released where he criticised Israel.

It meant voters were faced with a ballot paper where they could not choose anybody officially backed by Labour.

George Galloway gives a speech after being declared winner. Credit: PA Images

In what came to a surprise to some but perhaps not locals, independent candidate David Tully came second with 6,638 votes.

Mr Galloway stood on a fiercely anti-Labour and pro-Gaza ceasefire stance, targeting the sizeable Asian and Muslim communities in Rochdale.

Following his win, Mr Galloway declared: "This is for Gaza.

"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 here in Rochdale."

  • During his victory speech George Galloway told supporters "this is for Gaza"

Labour had held the seat in Rochdale since 2010, barring a two year period between 2015 and 2017, when the then MP Simon Danczuk was suspended from the party after sending inappropriate messages to a teenager, and instead sat as an independent.

Sir Tony Lloyd then won the seat for Labour in 2017 and had served as the MP until his death on 17 January.

Sir Tony, who represented the constituency with "dedication and devotion" and was a Labour MP for five decades, passed away days after announcing he had an incurable form of leukaemia.

He secured a majority in Rochdale of 9,668 at the 2019 general election.

But, the decision by Labour to withdraw support from Mr Ali meant the Labour stronghold would not be represented by the party in Westminster.

Mr Danczuk, was also on the ballot paper, standing for Reform UK, but only received 1968 votes.

The election follows the death of Sir Tony Lloyd

A total of 11 candidates stood in the by-election.

Voter turnout was 39.7%, compared to 60.1% in the 2019 general election.

The results in full:

  • Azhar Ali, Labour Party - 2,402

  • Mark Coleman, Independent - 455

  • Simon Danczuk, Reform UK - 1,968

  • Iain Donaldson, Liberal Democrats - 2,164

  • Paul Ellison, Conservative Party - 3,731

  • George Galloway, Workers Party of Britain - 12,335

  • Michael Howarth, Independent - 246

  • William Howarth, Independent - 523

  • Guy Otten, Green Party - 436

  • Ravin Subortna, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party - 209

  • David Tully, Independent - 6,638

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