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Respect Party beats Bradford Labour leader

Category: England

Published: 4th May 2012 07:20:28

George Galloway's Respect Party claimed a major scalp in Bradford by ousting the leader of the council.

Mr Galloway was not at the count at the Richard Dunn Sport Centre as his party took the Bradford City ward.

The MP said he was boycotting the count following a dispute with the council over passes for his party.

Respect won five seats on the council and removed the Labour leader Ian Greenwood after the papers were counted four times.

Respect put up candidates in 12 of Bradford's 30 wards.

BBC Yorkshire Political Editor Len Tingle said Mr Greenwood had been a councillor for the Little Horton ward for 17 years.

Mr Greenwood said he was "disappointed" at losing his seat, which he lost by 17 votes.

He said he would "be very surprised" if Labour made a deal with Respect to run the council and believed the party would talk to other groups first.

Many in the hall said they believed Respect would win at least four council seats.

Mr Galloway's supporters were predicting more than seven - a tally which would have left them with a crucial role to play in a hung council.

If Mr Greenwood had won his seat it would have seen his party take overall control of the council.

Before the result, no party had overall control in Bradford and Labour ran the authority as a minority administration.

On the night, Labour increased its councillors from 43 to 45 meaning it will need the votes of one other member to give it a majority.

Speaking after his defeat, Mr Greenwood said he did not think the result meant Respect now held the balance of power in the city.

He said he thought the key to Respect's success was Mr Galloway coming to the city and energising a mass of youngsters.

"He's made promises that I hope that he can keep but I doubt that he can," he said.

Mr Greenwood said he feared Mr Galloway's energisation would not last and Bradford would be left with a "generation of disenfranchised and alienated young people".

The first ward declared in Bradford went to Labour with sitting councillor Michael Johnson beating his Respect rival Sarah Cartin by 1,000 votes in Tong.

Voters in Bradford were also asked whether they wanted a mayor to run city affairs.

They rejected the idea by a sizeable majority with 53.2% of voters saying no, while 43.3% had voted in favour of the idea.

Mayoral referendums in Leeds and Wakefield will be counted later.

· All the latest election results are available at bbc.co.uk/vote2012

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