Anti-‘woke’ leftwing populist wins British by-election after campaigning against Israel’s war in Gaza

George Galloway, center, holds a rally at his Rochdale headquarters after being declared winner of the Rochdale by-election, which was triggered after the death of Labour Party’s member of parliament Tony Lloyd, in Rochdale, England, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Workers’ Party leader George Galloway won a sweeping victory in the Rochdale parliamentary by-election, winning 39.6% of the vote after campaigning against British support for Israeli’s war in Gaza.

  • “Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza,” Galloway said in response to his victory. “You have paid, and you will pay, a high price for the role you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on.”

Context: According to the 2021 census, the total population of Rochdale was 114,400 with it being 62.7% white, 29.6% Asian, and 3.1% black. Rochdale has a Labour stronghold over the last decade, however Labour withdrew support for their candidate in the election after he suggested Israel had allowed 7 October attack to happen.

  • A Labour spokesperson said: “We deeply regret that the Labour party was unable to field a candidate in this by-election and apologise to the people of Rochdale. George Galloway only won because Labour did not stand.”
Tweet from George Galloway denouncing mass immigration as not “left wing”

George Galloway has a long history as a left wing opponent of American foreign policy and the Jewish State.

  • Previously served as Member of Parliament for four constituencies between 1987 and 2010, and between 2012 and 2015
  • First for the Labour Party and then after being expelled in 2004 for opposing Iraq war for the Respect Party, the latter of which he joined in 2004 and led from 2013 until its dissolution in 2016.
  • Galloway has also emerged in recent years as a critic of the mainstream left stating he will stand up to the ‘transgender movement’ and oppose mass immigration to Britain for “driving down wages” and burdening Britain’s welfare system.
The Worker’s Party’s 10 point platform.

Workers Party of Britain: Is a new left wing populist political party led by Galloway which is focused on opposing American foreign policy and implementing policies to “build a new working class”.

Jewish Reaction: A Board of Deputies of British Jews described Gallow’s victory as “a dark day for the Jewish community in this country”

  • Russell Langer, the public affairs director of the Jewish Leadership Council commented: “George Galloway has made a career out of the politics of division and has once again used a by-election to exploit fault lines in community cohesion. It will be worrying to many in the community that he will now have a platform in Parliament again to further spread his hatred.”
  • Mike Katz, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement said “George Galloway’s election is bad for politics, Parliament and social cohesion. His politics of division, fear and hate have no place in society. He can’t be allowed to divide our communities. We will campaign at the General Election to make sure Rochdale has the MP it deserves.”