25/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 12:06

Analysis: What does Galloway win mean for Labour?

Category: Politics

Published: 30th Mar 2012 17:26:29

George Galloway has done it again.

His surprise victory in Bradford West is the second time that he has snatched a previously safe seat from Labour since he was thrown out of the party in 2003 for outspoken comments about the war in Iraq.

In 2005 he won Bethnal Green and Bow in east London for the party that he founded, Respect.

Previously he had been the MP for Glasgow Kelvin.

This win puts him firmly into the history books - few candidates from outside the main parties manage such by-election gains from the big three.

And it marks the return to the House of Commons of an assured orator and noted controversialist, who met Saddam Hussein twice and purred like a cat on Celebrity Big Brother.

George Galloway overturned the majority of more than 5,000 that Labour won in Bradford West at the 2010 general election, which is embarrassing for the party and its leader Ed Miliband.

Hours after the result, Mr Miliband appeared in front of the cameras to swear that lessons would be learned.

And he is prepared to learn personally, by revisiting the constituency in the coming weeks to work out what went wrong.

Aides say that is a measure of how seriously he takes the result, rather than a suggestion that he is to blame.

And no MPs have come forward to complain about their leader in public.

But his deputy Harriet Harman admitted that the result came as a complete surprise, which raises questions about the party machine on the ground.

The Labour leader would prefer that we see the result in the same way that George Galloway does - as a judgement on all the major Westminster parties. ”

Left-of-centre commentators have made several other contributions to the post-mortem.

Some have suggested that Galloway's victory may pull the party to the left.

Others that it makes the election for the mayor of London this May an even more crucial test.

A few think it demonstrates that the party has taken voters from its heartlands for granted.

The Labour leader would prefer that we see the result in the same way that George Galloway does - as a judgement on all the major Westminster parties.

Between them, they won only four in ten votes in Bradford.

The Conservative and the Lib Dems both lost votes.

And polling experts point out that Bradford West often bucks national trends.

In the midst of the 1997 New Labour landslide, the Tories picked up support. Labour's share of the vote went up in there in 2010, even as it slumped virtually everywhere else.

But experts question whether Respect can even become a force to be reckoned with nationwide.

In 2010 they lost many of their council seats and polled a total of 33,251 votes in the general election - half the number they won five years earlier.

Most of those votes were concentrated in just a few areas.

And Respect's leader Salma Yaqoob could only manage second place in the party's number number one target seat for that election, Birmingham Hall Green.

There is a big Asian vote in Bradford West but there is a complex pattern of different religions and ethnicities, and Mr Galloway denied that he won on the back of votes from any one community.

The party hopes this surprise victory gives them momentum to pick up more council seats in the local elections this summer.

With George Galloway's unerring ability to generate headlines, expect Respect to attract plenty of attention in the next few months.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Analysis: What does Galloway win mean for Labour? [Online] (Updated 30th Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1419822/Analysis-What-does-Galloway-win-mean-for-Labour [Accessed 25th Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • New Trevethin police and shopping centre opens

    A new police office, shops and business centre is opening at Trevethin in Torfaen following a £1.6m investment in a social enterprise development.
  • Bedtime light 'may stop cancer drug working'

    Even low levels of light in bedrooms may stop breast cancer drugs from working, US researchers have warned.
  • Pocket money squeezed despite recovery, suggests Halifax survey

    The economic recovery in the UK has not been felt by youngsters who have seen their pocket money fall in the last year, a survey suggests.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Mother Rosdeep Adekoya admits Mikaeel Kular killing

    The mother of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular has pleaded guilty to killing her son in Edinburgh in January.
  • Andrew McKinlay jailed for murdering Josephine Steele

    A man who stabbed his partner to death then stayed with her body for five days has been jailed for life.