Friday 1 March 2024


George Galloway is the new MP for Rochdale following one of the most bizarre by-elections in Westminster history.  The Workers Party leader polled almost twice as many votes as his nearest rival, the surprise second placed local independent David Tully.  The disavowed Labour candidate Azhar Ali finished a distant fourth, despite the Labour party name and logo still assigned to him on the ballot paper.  He also appeared first on the ballot, courtesy of the alphabet, but the ovwhelming majority of voters skipped past his name and went for one of the other ten candidates.

The result was a particular disappointment for Reform UK, who chose former Rochdale's former Labour MP as their candidate.  Like Azhar Ali, Simon Danczuk did not even hang around for the result.  Reform finished sixth, behind even the Lib Dems, albeit they saved their deposit.  Reform leader Richard Tice issued a furious tweet prior to the result, alleging that his activists had been subjected to death threats and racist abuse during the campaign.

The rest of the field was made up of mostly independents and a Green candidate, but only on paper as he, like Ali, had been disowned by his party during the election campaign.  The Green Party instead got behind a Just Stop Oil activist, Mark Coleman, who appeared to throw orange confetti towards Galloway during his victory speech.

What a clown show.  It remains to be seen whether Galloway will be able to hold off Labour in a general election, but rest assured - he will continue to sow division and whip up the local Muslim community between now and then.

Rochdale Parliamentary By-Election

George Galloway (WPB) 12,335 (39.7%) New
David Tully (Ind) 6,638 (21.3%) New
Paul Ellison (Con) 3,731 (12.0%) -19.2%
Azhar Ali (Lab*) 2,402 (7.7%) -43.9%
Iain Donaldson (LDem) 2,164 (7.0%) N/c
Simon Danczuk (RefUK) 1,968 (6.3%) -1.9%
William Howarth (Ind) 523 (1.7%) New
Mark Coleman (Ind) 455 (1.5%) New
Guy Otten (Grn*) 436 (1.4%) -0.7%
Michael Howarth (Ind) 246 (0.8%) New
Ravin Rodent Subortna (Loon) 209 (0.7%) New

WPB GAIN from Lab

* Candidates not endorsed by their own parties

There were also five council by-elections on Thursday.  The Lib Dems held both the seats they were defending in East Yorkshire, while Labour defended a seat in Great Yarmouth.  The absence of an independent in the latter appeared to benefit the Tory candidate marginally more than it did Labour.  In West Sussex two seats changed hands.  The Greens gained an independent seat, while the Conservatives gained a seat from the Lib Dems.

Minster & Woodmansey, East Riding of Yorkshire Council

LDem: 1,438 (50.7%) +8.6%
Con: 706 (24.9%) -1.9%
Lab: 495 (17.4%) -9.4%
Grn: 198 (7.0%) New


Tranby, East Riding of Yorkshire Council

LDem: 958 (55.3%) +4.4%
Lab: 408 (23.6%) +2.7%
Con: 268 (15.5%) -4.2%
Grn: 97 (5.6%) -2.9%


Central & Northgate, Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Lab: 482 (52.6%) +6.5%
Con: 296 (32.3%) +7.7%
LDem: 139 (15.2%) +3.3%


Henfield, Horsham District Council

Grn: 668 (44.2%) +19.8%
Con: 569 (37.7%) +12.9%
Lab: 215 (14.2%) -5.2%
LDem: 59 (3.9%) -2.4%

Grn GAIN from Ind

Southwater North, Horsham District Council

Con: 618 (49.0%) +11.2%
LDem: 388 (30.8%) -13.0%
Grn: 162 (12.9%) +3.8%
Lab: 92 (7.3%) -2.0%

Con GAIN from LDem


WPB = Workers Party of Britain
Con = Conservative
Lab = Labour
LDem = Liberal Democrat
RefUK - Reform UK
Grn = Green
Loon = Monster Raving Loony
Ind = Independents

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