Galloway takes Bradford West: In quotes
- 30 March 2012
- From the section UK Politics
George Galloway has pulled off a surprise by-election win in Bradford West - unseating Labour, the party that expelled him, to win for the anti-war Respect Party. Here's a rundown of what politicians and commentators are saying about the result:
This is a rejection of the mainstream parties with their Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Tweedledee-and-a-half approach. It was people saying they want political leaders they can believe in, who say what they mean, do what they say and don't lie to people. We don't say one thing to one set of people and something else to another.
Labour leader Ed Miliband
It was an incredibly disappointing result for Labour in Bradford West and I am determined that we learn lessons of what happened. I'm going to lead that. I'm going to be going back to the constituency in the coming weeks to talk to people there about why this result happened. Clearly there were local factors, but I also say only four out of 10 people voted for the three mainstream political parties.
Conservative chairman Baroness Warsi
If Ed Miliband can't get his act together after a week like this when is he going to get his act together? This is a Labour seat, has been for many, many decades and last night they lost it in spectacular fashion.
Salma Yaqoob, leader, Respect
We're just absolutely delighted that we've won and, not just won, but convincingly won... I'm not going to stand here and pretend that we predicted this. It has been a surprise, a very pleasant surprise. We felt there was a huge momentum, a fantastic energy when we were out campaigning but the size of the victory has even surprised us.
Former Labour, now independent, MP Denis MacShane
Tweeted: Calm down. A highly specific by-election result, like Oona King's defeat in 2005, will be absorbed as much bigger by-election shocks have been.
David Ward, Lib Dem MP for Bradford East
This was the Asian community within Bradford, really, who are in some ways punishing the Labour Party for abusing them and using them in the past.
Conservative MP John Redwood
Congratulations to George Galloway. The old fashioned virtues of beliefs, passion and consistency have powered Mr Galloway to an amazing victory. He has shown all the established parties that people can vote them out if they are fed up enough with them. The established parties will all explain it away as a one-off, something that only happens in by-elections. That is fine as a public position. In private, they would all be wise to realise that there is discomfort with what is happening, and to adjust.
Senior Labour MP Keith Vaz
I came into the House with George Galloway 25 yeas ago, so I've known him for a long time. He's a celebrity candidate. He's obviously a big figure. I was up in Bradford, his campaign was very much about a single issue: Iraq, and the situation that led to the war. So this is a one-off. I've been involved in the last five by-elections, which we have all won.
Stephen Tall, Liberal Democrat Voice website
This has been a week where political news appeared to eat itself. While the Westminster media led a patronising focus on so-called#pastygate, with Westminster politicians fighting for a photo-op in Greggs to show how of-the-people they are, the public in Bradford West were casting their votes based on issues that mattered much more to them, including continuing UK troop involvement in Afghanistan.
Helen Pidd, Guardian
While Galloway turned up to every hustings, guns blazing, his Labour counterpart shied away. The Labour spin machine swore blind it was because they felt Hussain could shore up support better wearing out his shoe leather on the streets of Bradford. But, like almost anyone else in the world, their man, far from your typically silver-tongued barrister, would be no match for Galloway in a debate.
Dan Hodges, Telegraph Blogs
George Galloway's win is the most catastrophic resultfor the Labour party since Roy Jenkins and the SDP's challenge in Warrington in 1981. Though in Warrington Jenkins lost narrowly. Gorgeous George is again off to Westminster.
Labour health spokeswoman Diane Abbott
There was the George Galloway factor. He is a very experienced campaigner. He knows for some people the Iraq war is unforgotten and unforgiven. But we have to learn the lessons. We have listen to them. This is the inner city making its voice heard.
Steve Anderson, Independent online
In similar scenes to 2005's general election, when he dramatically swiped the east London seat of Bethnal Green and Bow from Labour, Galloway targeted votes from the large Asian community in Bradford West. However, he was also successful in areas without large Asian populations... After a week in which the Tories have come under fire for their handling of 'pasty tax' and fuel panics, Galloway's win is likely to shift some attention back to Mr Miliband's party.
Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph website
It should not be forgotten that Bradford West was on the list of Tory target-seats at the last general election. Conservative strategists say that winning over ethnic voters must be a big part of the party's push between now and the next general election. It is said that the invisible Tory co-chairman, Baroness Warsi, has been beetling away on this work behind the scenes. On the evidence of Bradford West she has some way to go. The Conservatives slumped to under 3,000 votes last night. But it is Ed Miliband who is landed with the much bigger problem.
Atul Hatwal, Labour Uncut blog
Simply cranking the handle on decaying community political machinesand expecting the sheep to file through the pen will not work forever. When George Galloway condemned Labour's use of "biraderi" or clan-based politics last night, he was right. At some point Labour as a party will have to engage with its former ethnic minority supporters rather than just assume they will be there, regardless of whatever the party does.
Douglas Carswell, Conservative MP
So. After Bradford West, does anyone still think that this anti-politics mood is just a passing phase?Anyone still dispute that the established political brands are losing market share? For a while now, some of us have been arguing that the days of mass-brand, generic politics are coming to an end. Bradford or Boris, the future of politics lies in brands that are niche, distinctive, particular and often local.