• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Galloway fails to retain Rochdale

Galloway had served for just four months after winning a by-election triggered by the death of the town’s previous MP

George Galloway (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

Veteran left-wing political maverick George Galloway lost his parliamentary seat in Britain’s election on Friday, defeated by the Labour candidate in the northern English town of Rochdale.

Galloway had served for just four months after winning a by-election triggered by the death of the town’s previous MP.

Back in March, Galloway’s pro-Palestinian campaign helped him win votes from the town’s Muslim community and he secured what was his seventh stint as a lawmaker, representing his left-wing Workers Party of Britain.

That win came after Labour withdrew support from its candidate over a recording espousing conspiracy theories about Israel.

Both the Conservatives and the Labour Party have said they want the fighting in Gaza to stop, but they have also backed Israel’s right to defend itself, angering some among the 3.9 million Muslims who make up 6.5 per cent of Britain’s population.

Galloway criticised Labour for supporting Israel in its war against Hamas during his winning by-election campaign in March.

But this time he lost to Labour candidate Paul Waugh, a former political journalist who has previously worked for Britain’s Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, and who grew up in the town.

Galloway, 69, was himself a former Labour parliamentarian before being expelled from the party in 2003 for criticising then-prime minister Tony Blair over the Iraq war.

By that time, he already had a reputation for controversy.

In 1994, he drew criticism for meeting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and telling him: “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.”

His fame reached its height in 2006 when he impersonated a cat on a reality television show. (Reuters)

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