Galloway Back in Parliament, Declaring Duopoly Defeated

George Galloway won a crucial by-election in the North of England on Thursday in which the Gaza genocide played a key role. Galloway said his victory heralded the demise of Labour-Tory dominance in British politics.

Video by Cathy Vogan for Consortium News

By Joe Lauria
in Rochdale, England
Special to Consortium News

George Galloway began his victory speech on Friday morning with these words: “Keir Starmer: This is for Gaza.”

It was a clear message that he sent the British Labour leader: “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.” 

Galloway declared his victory in a by-election here to be the beginning of a major change in politics.  “I want to tell Mr. Starmer above all, that the plates have shifted tonight,” he said at the town’s election center.

This is going to spark a movement, a landslide, a shifting of the tectonic plates … beginning here in the northwest, in the west Midlands, in London … 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. … Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are two cheeks of the same backside and they both got well and truly spanked tonight.” 

Giles and Galloway celebrating victory Friday morning. (Joe Lauria)

‘Changed for Good’

The sentiment in the Galloway camp is that victory by a third-party start-up in an important by-election may be a harbinger of voters rejecting entrenched duopolies in Britain and elsewhere. “Tonight was the redrawing of the political map,” Galloway said. 

“We crushed Labour by ten thousand votes,” he told supporters back at headquarters. “The second place candidate was not the Conservatives,” but an independent. “This is the first time in British political history that in a by-election both of the major parties were completely crushed,” he said. 

“We changed politics in Britain for good,” James Giles, Galloway’s campaign manager, told supporters back at campaign headquarters. “Maybe we have changed politics in the world for good. Something spectacular has been achieved here tonight. Two thousand Labour votes. Twelve thousand Galloway votes.”

It was the first parliamentary victory for Galloway’s new Worker’s Party of Britain, which he told CN was like starting a new Labour Party. He said the party would contest 59 seats in the upcoming general election in 12 weeks. 

Galloway will have to stand again, having served only 200 days — the remainder of the term of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd, who died in January after representing Rochdale for seven years.    

The local issues Galloway won on were promises to restore a maternity ward and emergency room to Rochdale, as well as returning an open air market and saving the town’s football team. “Rochdale was once one of the most prosperous towns in England and is now one of the poorest,” he said. “This is the start of a Rochdale revival.”

Galloway thanked the people of Rochdale “who voted for me in such numbers.” He won 12,335 votes, or 39.7 percent; the Conservative candidate got 3,731 or 12 percent; and Labour officially had no candidate when it dropped Azhar Ali (though he was still listed as Labour on the ballot). He got 2,402 votes, or 7.7 percent.

Turnout was low. Only 39.7 percent of eligible voters voted.

Gaza Defense in Parliament

Galloway answers reporters questions after his victory speech. (Joe Lauria)

Galloway will bring the strongest voice to Parliament in condemnation of the genocide taking place in Gaza.

A taste of the establishment’s reaction to his election was a question posed by a reporter from Times radio to Giles. He asked Galloway’s campaign manager about the safety of members of Parliament. This week it voted itself £31 million for MPs’ security. Giles said he expected that proper security would be given to Galloway. 

But the reporter corrected him. He said he meant that some MPs are worried about their security, because Galloway will now be in the House.  It was an extraordinary question. It spoke of an insidious mindset surrounding the Gaza massacres, namely that fear should not be of those committing genocide, but of those who forcefully oppose it. 

Without mentioning Galloway by name, Richard Tice, leader of the Reform UK Party, told reporters at the election center, “By Christmas we face the prospect of numerous extremist, anti-semitic lawmakers in the House of Commons.”

Counting the votes in Rochdale on Thursday night. (Joe Lauria)

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe

28 comments for “Galloway Back in Parliament, Declaring Duopoly Defeated

  1. March 2, 2024 at 08:42

    I really do hope George has re-set the tectonic plates towards a new left – labor coalition against the duopoly and the discredited liberals (see Hedges’ book “Death of the Liberal Class” to understand why I mean by “liberals”). My big policy problem with George is that he is a climate denier and seems to lack understanding of environmental issues. A political bone I pick with him is that he wastes bullets using conservative cultural issues (e.g. family) to go out of his way to alienate some of the “woke” allies he should be cultivating. I agree with a lot of his criticism of these folks, but they need respect, education and solidarity (recognizing serious disagreements on these cultural issues), not mocking attack.

    But my fear is that the new political alignment will not be like George’s from the left, but a Fascist consolidation. That is what appears to be happening in the US with the Trump MAGA movement.

  2. March 2, 2024 at 01:11

    Biggest Smile I’ve had in a long time…Love You, George…Congratulations!…

  3. Joy
    March 1, 2024 at 18:29

    A beacon shines forth from Rochdale. Lit by George Galloway, whose number of electoral successes, per The Guardian, is apparently matched only by Winston Churchill. Congratulations, George Galloway!

    • Geraldine Cowan
      March 2, 2024 at 06:02

      I agree. This is the first spark of hope in a depressing world.
      George, watch your back! The government and .media are behaving like cornered rats, stupid but vicious.
      We need strong voices in parliament. Sadly we have very few. We NEED George Galloway.there.
      Viva Rochdale. Viva Gaza. Viva truth and Assange!!!!

  4. March 1, 2024 at 17:32

    The people of Rochdale in the United Kingdom have, with great courage and intelligence, proven that duopolies are not inevitable and that voters do have other options, notwithstanding massive efforts by the corporate media and the Deep State to frighten and manipulate the electorate. George Galloway, who has been abused in the United Kingdom almost as much as Donald Trump has been abused by the press and so called justice system in the United States (though they are by no means similar in any other respect), has won this bi-election in stunning fashion, and has organized a new political party, something Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., are trying to do in the United States, and Jill Stein has been trying to do for over a decade through the Green Party. Are United States citizens really so much less competent than the people of Rochdale, so much less courageous, so much less intelligent, so much more manipulable? This November will provide all of us with the answer.

  5. William Johnson
    March 1, 2024 at 14:39

    Congratulations George. Sometimes elections matter and this is one of those times. Sadly, the U.S. continues to be controlled by men you cannot vote out of their positions, but maybe this will begin to change. Bless you Mt. Galloway.

  6. JonnyJames
    March 1, 2024 at 13:00

    A bit of good news for a change. Congratulations Mr. Galloway!

  7. Steve
    March 1, 2024 at 12:26

    “Richard Tice, leader of the Reform UK Party, told reporters at the election center, “By Christmas we face the prospect of numerous extremist, anti-Semitic lawmakers in the House of Commons.”

    A few short hours and the disingenuous slander creeps pipe up to say anyone calling for peace in Gaza is ‘anti-Semitic.’

    Israel makes some very nice confectionary, and I like it.
    If I were to say that, alas, one brand makes me nauseous, would that make me anti-Semitic?

    Go for it George !

  8. Jeff A
    March 1, 2024 at 11:36

    Great news all around. A British spokesman for Gaza, then rid of Starmer and we can forget all about Richard Tice, he can move to occupied Palestine for the time remaining.

    • Susan Siens
      March 2, 2024 at 16:30

      Do you have a Parliament filled with people with dual citizenships? We have two branches of government in the U.S. — legislative and executive — filled with people with Israeli passports. Many Americans think this should be illegal.

  9. Drew Hunkins
    March 1, 2024 at 11:14

    “This is for Gaza!”

    Damn right!

  10. Fraoch
    March 1, 2024 at 10:57

    I’m glad he won this by election.
    As fr the late Sir Tony Lloyd he epitopised the reality of the Labour Party as a social imperialist party that has served to drain away working class anger over the last 80 odd years.

    Rochdale has been betrayed by both Labour and the old Liberal parties and the ruling Local Council administrations.

    Although I would hope that George’s prediction of the smashing of the duopoly I fear that this won’t happen anytime soon but perhaps a small blow has been struck.

    Next bedt thing in UK politics is for Scotland to go fr Independence and really do real damage to the duoploy.

  11. Lois Gagnon
    March 1, 2024 at 10:26

    What a pathetic statement by Richard Tice. People with this mindset need to be pushed as far away from the reigns of government as people can push them. Congratulations to George Galloway! Finally a voice for peace and Justice wins.

    • anaisanesse
      March 1, 2024 at 12:31

      Did you notice the tiny number or votes cast for Tice???

    • david coleman
      March 1, 2024 at 14:01

      (1) Army chief announces exciting plan to start World War III (
      (2) IDF condemns Gazan grandma for intercepting their bullet with her body (
      (3) Banksy Parliament – Search (

      Congratulations George!

  12. Vera Gottlieb
    March 1, 2024 at 10:22

    The UK, like ‘partner in crime’ US, needs a thorough political shake-up…from top to bottom and up again.

    • Susan Siens
      March 2, 2024 at 16:32

      It is very hard in both countries to distinguish what one’s country is actually doing and who is dancing to Israel’s tune. The Israelis said they could destroy the U.S. anytime they wanted and I would imagine they feel the same about the U.K.

  13. Mary Caldwell
    March 1, 2024 at 10:13

    Congratulations George Galloway !

  14. Susan Leslie
    March 1, 2024 at 09:38

    We need a Worker’s Party here in the USA and someone like George Galloway to lead it! Congratulations George – go get ’em!!

    • Eric Foor
      March 1, 2024 at 13:13

      I agree.

      How about a “World Humanist Party” with a free franchise in every country?….starting with the USA?

      George Galloway would make a great President!…or as a cabinet member next to the President…but with greater influence than the neocons have now.

  15. Em
    March 1, 2024 at 09:05

    Are we actually living in a political time warp dream?
    His story will tell.

  16. George of the Jungle
    March 1, 2024 at 07:47

    If the world declares, with great seriousness, that opposition to genocide is “anti-semitism”, then the only response would appear to be to stand up and proudly proclaim yourself as an “anti-semite”.

    I believe each person is an individual, unique, and I would never judge a book by its cover. But, if the choice is to oppose genocide, or not to oppose genocide, then there is only one choice. .. to oppose genocide, while chanting “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

    What would you do while your nation is committing genocide? Save your appointment calendars for these times, if you want to know the answer.

    • Eric Foor
      March 1, 2024 at 12:38

      I agree.

      Humans first… All religions are only plan B.

      The actions of Arron Bushnell have lite a flame in all of us that abhor the Zionist extermination of the Palestinian people.

      Free Palestine!

    • Susan Siens
      March 2, 2024 at 16:34

      I will proudly declare myself an


      If someone wants to call me an anti-semite, I could only say, “So be it.”

  17. March 1, 2024 at 06:06

    Let’s hope he is right that this is the beginning of a new era in politics. But The Blob isn’t going to go quietly into the night, so I guess it’s game on.

  18. Russell Davies
    March 1, 2024 at 04:38

    This was a great result for Galloway on a turnout that wasn’t low for a by-election. Before Rochdale, there have been 21 by-elections in this parliament (since December 2019) with turnouts ranging from 52.2% to 22.4%. The turnout in Rochdale at 39.7% was slightly above the average (39.1%) and was higher than the turnouts in five out of seven Labour gains in this parliament, gains which Keir Starmer has declared as paving the way for a Labour government. On this showing, Starmer’s whole-hearted support for Israel’s “self-defence” might come back to bite him.

    • Susan Siens
      March 2, 2024 at 16:35

      I don’t know how intelligent British people can stand Starmer just as I don’t know how intelligent Americans can stand Biden.

  19. LeoSun
    March 1, 2024 at 04:15

    “SCORE!” Congratulations, George Galloway & his “new Worker’s Party of Britain!” An off the f/charts V I C T O R Y!

    W/o a doubt, NOT only are 12,335 votes, flippin’ phenomenal, “We crushed Labour by ten thousand votes;” BUT, George Galloway’s “Acceptance” speech is the “Greatest Of All Time!!!” Absolutely, on f/point, i.e., “We changed politics in Britain for good,” James Giles, Galloway’s Campaign Manager.

    “[MAYBE] we have changed politics in the world for good. Something spectacular has been achieved here tonight. Two thousand Labour votes. Twelve thousand Galloway votes.” James Giles, Galloway’s Campaign Manager.

    A question for the Angels, 1) “Where is “our,” the Divided $tates of Corporate America’s fka the USA’s, George Galloway and/or Clare Daly, “redrawing the political map;” AND, roaring to “start an American revival?!?” beginning w/a Fair & Square Election.

    Cheers!!! May all the best vibrations continue to rock for George Galloway & the New Worker’s Party of Britain. “Keep It Lit!

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