‘Raises questions’: Tom Harwood explains why Azhar Ali case may expose HUGE Labour flaws

‘Raises questions’: Tom Harwood explains why Azhar Ali case may expose HUGE Labour flaws

Tom Harwood discusses suspended Labour candidate 'boasting association' with George Galloway

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 13/02/2024

- 17:00

Ali was stood down as a Labour candidate

GB News presenter Tom Harwood says the vetting process in place for Labour’s prospective candidates could be flawed.

It comes as controversy surrounds Azhar Ali, who was stood down as Labour candidate for the Rochdale by-election over comments he reportedly made about Israel and Jewish people.

The affair has left the party embroiled in yet another antisemitism row which has been compounded by a resurfaced image of Ali.

He was spotted shaking hands with George Galloway, who was expelled from Labour in 2003 after being found guilty of four charges of bringing the party into disrepute.

Emily Carver and Tom Harwood

Tom Harwood says questions need to be asked of Labour


Speaking to GB News members, Harwood believes the whole affair has thrown Labour’s handling of how it selects its MPs into question.

“Had this tweet been uncovered by the Labour Party, which was made in 2015, there is no way this individual would have been selected”, he said.


“It raises huge questions about the Labour Party vetting process and other candidates as well.

“There a very few people who would say he would get through even onto the shortlist if this photo came through before the selection.

“It raises big questions about what the selection process is like for so many different elements of Labour selections.”

Emily Carver waded in to add it would perhaps have been unfair to not allow Ali to run as a result of the photo, a “fair point”, according to Tom.

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer is under more scrutiny

Labour candidate for Rochdale, Azhar AliLabour candidate for Rochdale, Azhar Ali, has apologisedGETTY

“You should be able to shake hands with whom you disagree”, he said.

Despite this, Tom believes Labour would undoubtedly still not have allowed Ali to run had the photo been spotted beforehand.

Keir Starmer said he took “tough” and “decisive” action to withdraw support for Labour’s Rochdale by-election candidate.

Ali had apologised after he was recorded in a meeting of the Lancashire Labour Party suggesting that Israel had taken the October 7 Hamas assault as a pretext to invade Gaza.

But Labour said it moved to end its backing of the candidate “following new information about further comments”.

Speaking as he campaigned in Wellingborough, Sir Keir Starmer said: “Certain information came to light over the weekend in relation to the candidate. There was a fulsome apology. Further information came to light yesterday calling for decisive action, so I took decisive action.

“It is a huge thing to withdraw support for a Labour candidate during the course of a by-election.

“It’s a tough decision, a necessary decision, but when I say the Labour Party has changed under my leadership I mean it.”

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