GEORGE Galloway has once again been elected as an MP as he overturned a huge Labour majority to win the Rochdale by-election.

The campaign has been mired in chaos and controversy since it started, with Labour having to U-turn on its support for Azhar Ali following criticism of remarks he made about Israel.

It was a bad night for Labour, with Ali coming in fourth place, behind Galloway, local independent candidate and businessman David Tully and Conservative candidate Paul Ellison.

What did the numbers say?

Starting with the basic numbers, Galloway picked up almost 40% of the vote on an overall turnout of 39.7%.

This falls short of the 56% he won when he last won a by-election in Bradford West in 2012.

The National:

However, it was nonetheless a comfortable victory with second-placed candidate Tully picking up 21.3% of the vote.

Overall, Galloway won 12,335 votes while Tully picked up 6600 votes, giving the former a majority of 5697 with the below results showing the top six candidates people voted for.

  • Workers Party of Britain – 39.7%
  • Independent – 21.3%
  • Conservative – 12%
  • Labour – 7.7%
  • Liberal Democrat 7%
  • Reform UK 6.3%

A bad night for Labour

When Labour won the seat at the 2019 General Election, they did so with a majority of more than 9000, picking up 51.6% of the vote.

In the latest by-election, Ali won a little under 8% of the vote, putting them down by 44 points on the share secured by Tony Lloyd in 2019.

According to polling expert John Curtice, this represents the biggest ever by-election fall in Labour support.

Ali would have stood as an independent MP had he been elected but was still listed as a Labour candidate on the ballot paper.

READ MORE: Poll: SNP set for clear majority of Scottish seats at General Election

It is only the sixth time since 1945 that a candidate representing a party with no current representation in the House of Commons has won a by-election with Galloway achieving the feat twice.

What have Labour said?

Following the result, Labour immediately looked forward to the next General Election, saying they would get to work on selecting a new candidate.

“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 (below) only won because Labour did not stand,” a party spokesperson said.

The National: George Galloway following his victory in the Rochdale by-election

“Rochdale deserves the chance to vote for an MP that would bring communities together and deliver for working people.

“George Galloway is only interested in stoking fear and division. As an MP he will be a damaging force in our communities and public life.

“The Labour Party will quickly begin the process to select a new Labour candidate for the General Election, and will be campaigning hard to deliver the representation and fresh start that Rochdale deserves.”

What about Galloway?

In his victory speech, Galloway told Keir Starmer “this is for Gaza” and added “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 in the Gaza Strip”.

During his speech, he was interrupted by a heckler accusing him of being a “climate change denier,” and confetti was thrown at him.