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article imageSurprise British by-election win by Galloway

By Tim Sandle     Mar 30, 2012 in Politics
Bradford - George Galloway, leader of the Respect Party, has won a surprise by-election victory In Bradford, England. The Labour Party, which had held the seat for almost 30 years, finished second.
The by-election in the Bradford West parliamentary seat has been surprisingly won by the Respect Party, as reported on Sky News. A by-election is held in the UK following the death or resignation of a sitting Member of Parliament (MP). With this election, the sitting MP Marsha Singh resigned due to poor health.
The seat had been held by the Labour Party and it was widely thought that Labour would retain the seat. In the event, the poll held on March 29, was won by the Respect Party's George Galloway, who won by a large margin of 10,100 votes (56% of the share).
George Galloway was a left-wing member of the Labour Party and was an MP in Scotland (from 1973-2005). He was expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 over this opposition to the war with Iraq (not so much his position, as many Labour MPs were opposed, but due to his strong criticisms of the then party leader Tony Blair). Galloway then founded the Respect Party and won a seat in the 2005 general election, which he held until 2010.
The BBC reports Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman said the results were "disappointing" and the party saw its share of the vote fall by 20%.
The government coalition parties performed poorly. This was not so much a problem for David Cameron's Conservative Party as the area was not known for its Tory leanings. However, the vote was a further indication of the decline in support for the Liberal Democrats.
The full results were (number of votes received and percentage of the vote cast):
George Galloway (Respect Party) 18,341 (55.89%)
Imran Hussain (Labour Party) 8,201 (24.99%)
Jackie Whiteley (Conservative Party) 2,746 (8.37%)
Jeanette Sunderland (Liberal Democrat Party) 1,505 (4.59%)
Sonja McNally (United Kingdom Independence Party) 1,085 (3.31%)
Dawud Islam (Green Party) 481 (1.47%)
Neil Craig (D Nats) 344 (1.05%)
Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 111 (0.34%)
George Galloway, seeing the result as a sign that there was still a strong anti-war feeling in the UK, particularly with a potential conflict with Iran, described his victory, as quoted in The Guardian, as the "Bradford Spring".
He went on to say:
"They have to stop supporting illegal, bloody, costly foreign wars because one of the reasons why they were so decisively defeated this evening is that the public don't believe that they have atoned for their role in the invasion and occupation of other people's countries and the drowning of those countries in blood."
Aside from Galloway, who is a well-known national figure, the Respect Party have not broken through the strongly into the political fold. Whether this becomes a turning point, only time and subsequent elections will tell.
More about George Galloway, Bradford, Byelection, MP, Labour party
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