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PoliticsSir Keir Starmer apologies after Galloway wins Rochdale by-election

Sir Keir Starmer apologies after Galloway wins Rochdale by-election

Sir Keir Starmer has said sorry to Rochdale voters after disowning Labour’s by-election candidate.

George Galloway was the resounding winner with 12,335 votes, whilst independent candidate and local businessman David Tully came second with 6,633 votes and Paul Ellison for Conservatives was third with 3,731.

Labour’s suspended candidate Azhar Ali, came in fourth after losing his party’s support in making remarks that were alleged to be antisemitic – which he has apologised for.

The by-election was sparked by the death of Sir Tony Lloyd, who died in January aged 73, after revealing he had an untreatable form of leukaemia.

Mr Galloway – leader of the Workers’ Party of Britain – described the result as Sir Keir’s “worst nightmare” and said he and prime minister Rishi Sunak were “two cheeks of the same backside” and claimed they “both got well and truly spanked here in Rochdale”.

During his winning speech he was heckled by someone accusing him of being a climate change denier, and then had confetti thrown over him by another candidate, Mark Coleman – a Just Stop Oil supporter.

The Gaza war was a running theme in Mr Galloway’s campaign.

Sir Starmer said: “Galloway only won because Labour didn’t stand a candidate. I regret that we had to withdraw our candidate and I apologise to voters in Rochdale – but it was the right decision.

“Obviously we will put a first class candidate before the voters in Rochdale at the General Election.”

Mr Galloway has previously been an MP for Labour until 2003, then in the Commons as an independent and Respect Party MP for three constituencies between 2003 and 2015.

 

Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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