Starmer apologizes for Galloway win in Rochdale by-election

Sir Keir Starmer has expressed regret to Rochdale voters for disowning the Labour candidate for the by-election but maintains that the action was “the correct one.”

The contest was decisively won by George Galloway, while Azhar Ali, the suspended Labour candidate, finished in a distant fourth place.

The outcome was dubbed Sir Keir’s “worst nightmare” by Mr Galloway.

The leader of the Labour Party stated that Mr Galloway’s victory was due to the fact that Labour withdrew support for Mr Ali in response to remarks that were widely alleged to be antisemitic.

Local industrialist and independent candidate David Tully unexpectedly finished in second place, pushing the Conservatives into third.

Mr Galloway, leader of the Workers Party of Britain, compared Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir to “two cheeks of the same backside,” claiming both individuals received a severe spanking tonight in Rochdale during his victory speech.

Concerning Palestinian rights, among other Middle East-related issues, Mr Galloway has long advocated for his party to “pay a high price” for “enabling, encouraging, and covering up the catastrophe” in Gaza, as he warned the Labour leader.

Sir Keir, speaking after the loss, expressed regret and apologised to the voters of Rochdale for the decision to withdraw his candidate.Starmer apologizes for Galloway win in Rochdale by-election

“I made the aforementioned decision. That was the correct course of action.”

Labour’s Strategic Moves Amidst Rochdale Turmoil

He committed that Labour would nominate “an exceptional candidate, a unifier,” in preparation for the upcoming general election later this year, to contest the seat.

The Rochdale contest, according to Mr Sunak, was “one of the most divisive campaigns we have witnessed in recent memory,” whereas the Conservatives “ran a truly positive campaign.”

Due to the demise of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd, who had held the seat with a majority of approximately 10,000, a by-election was necessitated.

Although Mr Ali expressed regret for his remarks, the party decided to withdraw its support and instructed its members to cease campaigning for him.

According to seasoned political pollster Sir John Curtice, Sir Keir will face increased pressure to toughen Labour’s stance on Israel in light of the Rochdale result.

Nevertheless, he harboured scepticism regarding the extent to which this would influence the outcome of the general election, stating that “no one else is likely to exploit this issue [the Gaza war] in the manner that Mr Galloway is singularly capable of doing.”

Local Businessman Shakes Rochdale Vote

Mr Tully, who received 6,638 votes and operates an automotive business in addition to his involvement with the town’s rugby club, is well-known in Rochdale.

He stated, “I feel as though I’ve changed the minds of those who don’t normally vote because mainstream politics and parties never truly evolve.”

In recent by-elections, Reform UK has fared well, placing third in both Wellingborough and Kingswood. However, their Rochdale candidate, former Labour MP Simon Danczuk, was defeated with 1,968 votes to finish in sixth place.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism expressed “extreme concern” over Mr Galloway’s victory, stating that he had a “atrocious record of baiting the Jewish community,” including advocating for Bradford to be declared an “Israel-free zone” when he was an MP there.

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