George Galloway’s Victory in Rochdale By-Election Amplifies Gaza Challenge for Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer confronts an escalated challenge over his Gaza stance as firebrand George Galloway secures a surprising victory in the Rochdale by-election.

The pro-Palestinian figure, victorious in the typically Labour-safe seat, pledges to use his platform to criticize Starmer’s position on Israel, particularly in the aftermath of the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas.

Labour’s Setback in Divisive Rochdale By-Election

Despite disowning its candidate Azhar Ali due to remarks deemed anti-Semitic, Labour faces fresh concerns with George Galloway’s triumph, signaling potential backlash in Muslim communities.

The chaotic contest prompts Labour’s deputy national campaign co-ordinator, Ellie Reeves, to apologize for the divisive by-election, emphasizing that Starmer will not shift his Gaza stance.

Galloway’s Return to Westminster: A Blow to Labour

George Galloway’s victory marks his return to Westminster after a nine-year absence, now representing the Workers Party of Britain.

The Rochdale by-election, triggered by the death of former MP Sir Tony Lloyd, witnesses Galloway winning with 39.65% of the votes, posing questions about Labour’s influence in the area.

Galloway’s Warning to Starmer: “This is for Gaza”

In his victory speech, Galloway directly addresses Keir Starmer, declaring, “Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza.” Galloway criticizes Starmer’s role in the Gaza situation, warning that the Labour leader will pay a high price for enabling and covering the ongoing catastrophe. Galloway asserts that Starmer’s problems have intensified significantly.

Rochdale By-Election Results: Galloway Secures 39.65% of Votes

George Galloway secures victory with 12,335 votes, constituting nearly 40% of the vote share.

Independent candidate David Tully follows with 21.34%, while Labour’s former candidate Azhar Ali, listed due to timing constraints, ranks fourth with 7.72%. The results, with a 39.7% turnout, raise questions about Labour’s ability to counter Galloway’s influence even without campaign disruptions.

Galloway’s Attack on Starmer: “Plates Have Shifted”

Galloway uses his victory speech to criticize Keir Starmer’s Gaza stance, asserting that the plates have shifted, and Starmer’s problems have multiplied. Galloway predicts a movement and a shifting of tectonic plates in numerous parliamentary constituencies, claiming that Labour has lost the confidence of millions of voters.

Labour’s Response and Apology for Campaign Chaos

Labour’s deputy national campaign co-ordinator, Ellie Reeves, acknowledges the regrettable state of the by-election and apologizes to Rochdale residents. Reeves defends Starmer’s Gaza position, highlighting the party’s support for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and a two-state solution.

She denounces Galloway for stoking division and fear.

Concerns Over Galloway’s Views: CAA Expresses Apprehension

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) expresses concerns about George Galloway’s views, citing his historical record of baiting the Jewish community.

The CAA worries about how Galloway might use his platform in the House of Commons, given his inflammatory rhetoric.

Galloway’s Campaign Focus on Palestine and Gaza

Galloway’s campaign heavily emphasizes the Palestinian cause and Gaza, resonating with Rochdale’s significant Muslim population.

The victory, with Galloway securing 15,000 votes, raises questions about mainstream party politics.

Tensions during the campaign include incidents of torn-down posters and allegations of intimidation.

Tory Criticism and Rochdale’s Unique Challenges

Conservative ex-Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick criticizes how the Rochdale contest has become known as the “Gaza by-election,” condemning candidates more interested in an external conflict than local issues.

The deprived constituency, which voted 60% in favor of Brexit, faces unique challenges, including past grooming scandals and a history of deprivation.

Galloway’s Future Plans and Starmer’s Political Impact

George Galloway’s victory is hailed as a rejection of mainstream party politics by supporters.

Galloway expresses hope for introductions to the Commons by Conservative former minister Sir David Davis and independent MP Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour’s struggles in Rochdale prompt questions about Starmer’s political impact and the party’s ability to resonate with diverse communities.

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