‘Galloway only won because Labour didn’t stand’ in Rochdale by-election, says Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has said George Galloway “only won because Labour did not stand” in the Rochdale by-election.

The Workers Party leader, who is one of Britain’s most divisive politicians, swept to victory in the greater Manchester seat, gaining almost 40 per cent of the vote in a contest mired in chaos and controversy and dominated by the Gaza conflict.

Labour dropped its candidate Azhar Ali ahead of the vote for suggesting Israel was complicit in Hamas’ October 7 attack and have since warned Mr Galloway will stoke “fear and division”.

“I regret that we had to withdraw our candidate and apologise to voters in Rochdale,” Sir Keir said on Friday 1 March.