Rochdale by-election result: George Galloway wins in landslide after chaotic campaign

George Galloway and Keir Starmer

George Galloway wins in landslide after chaotic campaign

PA/GB News
Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell

Published: 01/03/2024

- 02:49

Updated: 01/03/2024

- 08:43

The by-election has been largely dominated by the conflict in Gaza

George Galloway has won the by-election in Rochdale with a majority of 5,697.

The Workers Party candidate pulled in 12,335 votes, with the second-place candidate, David Tully, coming in with 6,638.

Some 39.7 per cent of Rochdale residents turned out to vote.

The Tory candidate Paul Ellison came in third place with 3,731 (-11,076)

Breaking down the results further by the percentage of the vote, Galloway received: 39.7 per cent, Tully received 21.3 per cent, Ellison received 12.0 per cent, Azhar Ali received 7.7 per cent, Iain Donaldson received 7.0 per cent, and Simon Danczuk received 6.3 per cent.

WATCH HERE: George Galloway speech interupted by Just Stop Oil protester

In his victory speech, Galloway said: “Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza. You have paid and you will pay a high price for the role that you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on in occupied Palestine in the Gaza Strip. Rochdale Town councillors, I put you on notice now that I hope to put together a grand alliance of all the parties.”

He added: ”I want to tell Mr Starmer above all that the plates have shifted tonight.

”And as Jacob Rees Mogg just said on television [GB News], in talking of me as a parliamentary orator, of note that Keir Starmer's problems just got 100 times more serious than they were before today.

”This is going to spark a movement, a landslide, a shifting of the tectonic plates in scores of parliamentary constituencies, beginning here in the Northwest, in the West Midlands, in London, from Ilford to Bethnal Green and Bow. Labour is on notice that they have lost the confidence of millions of their voters who loyally and traditionally voted for them generation after generation.

”I've heard some of the narrative being spun around this election result this evening.

”Yes, it's true that every Muslim is bitterly angry at Keir Starmer and his misnamed Labour Party.

”But you would be very foolish if you did not realize that millions of other citizens of our country are too.

”Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are two cheeks of the same backside, and they both got well and truly spanked tonight here in Rochdale.”

George Galloway

Some 39.7 per cent of Rochdale residents turned out to vote


The by-election has been largely dominated by the conflict in Gaza with two candidates from both Labour and the Greens having support withdrawn by their parties over comments made in relation to the Israel-Hamas war.

Both Azhar Ali, the former Labour candidate, and Guy Otten, the former Green candidate, had their endorsements revoked after both candidates made inappropriate comments about Israel.

Tory candidate Paul Ellison also faced criticism for going on holiday during the campaign.

Reform UK’s candidate Simon Danczuk came as a surprise as well after he represented Labour in the Rochdale seat from 2010 to 2017.

However during the counting, Reform leader Richard Tice issued a statement claiming his candidate had experienced “death threats and abuse”.


George Galloway

George Galloway built his campaign around the Gaza conflict


He said: “Our candidates and campaign team have been subjected to racist death threats, racist abuse, refused entry to hustings in council buildings and had to be relocated for their own safety.

“They have suffered daily intimidation and slurs. I've already removed all of my staff from this count.

“In one incident, Reform UK business supporters were threatened with a fire bomb attack if they just if they distributed our leaflets. Menacing behaviour became a feature of this entire campaign including today outside polling stations in the ugliest of contexts.”

Tonight’s results also come as an upset for Keir Starmer as Rochdale has been a safe Labour seat for years.

Rochdale by-electionThe by-election in Rochdale was sparked after veteran Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd died on January 17PA

The by-election in Rochdale was sparked after veteran Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd died on January 17 just days after announcing he had an incurable form of leukaemia.

In 2019, Lloyd snatched victory with a healthy majority of just under 10,000 votes and a share of more than 51 per cent.

Eleven candidates were on the ballot Azhar Ali (Labour), Mark Coleman (Independent), Simon Danczuk (Reform UK), Iain Donaldson (Lib Dems), Paul Ellison (Conservative), George Galloway (Workers Party), Michael Howarth (Independent), William Howarth (Independent), Guy Otten (Green Party), Ravin Rodent Subortna (Monster Raving Loony Party), David Tully (Independent).

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