UK Rochdale by-election live

Labour’s candidate malfunction makes this by-election interesting, with George Galloway a possible winner.

Live Commentary

1:53pm Finally a result, with Galloway winning easily and Tully second. The Tories were down 22 points to 12% and Labour crashed 48 points to just 8%! The Labour candidate was disendorsed.

1:17pm Re last update, it’s been a very slow 20 minutes!

12:47pm The BBC reported at 12:40pm that the result will be earlier than expected, in another 10 to 20 minutes.

11:53am Galloway’s campaign are confident they’ve won, and an independent (David Tully) is doing very well, and could come second.

11:37am The BBC reported at 10:37am AEDT that Galloway’s people think he’s won.

11:32am BBC’s live blog says the Rochdale result is expected about 2pm AEDT. Counting in the UK doesn’t happen by booth as in Australia. Instead all votes cast in a seat are taken to one place for the count.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Polls close at 9am AEDT today for a by-election in the UK Labour-held seat of Rochdale that was caused by the death of the previous MP, Tony Lloyd. Labour defeated the Conservatives by 51.6-31.2 in Rochdale in 2019, with 8.2% Brexit Party and 7.0% Lib Dem. With Labour far ahead in national polls, a by-election in a safe Labour-held seat would normally be uninteresting.

But Labour’s candidate, Ashar Ali, was disendorsed by Labour on February 12, owing to revelations of comments he made implying that Israel knew of the October 7 Hamas attacks, but deliberately did nothing to stop them. But as nominations had already closed, Ali is still listed as the Labour candidate on the ballot paper. If he wins, he will sit as an independent.

Muslims make up 30% of Rochdale’s population and George Galloway, who has attacked Labour from the left for a long time, is running as the Workers Party candidate, on a campaign focused on support for Palestine. Galloway is probably the biggest threat to Ali.

Labour has been criticized from the left for its position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and there was uproar in parliament last week when the Speaker allowed a Labour amendment instead of one proposed by the Scottish National Party. If the SNP amendment had been voted on, many Labour MPs would have rebelled against their party’s opposition.

The Labour MP for Rochdale before Lloyd was Simon Danczuk, but he was expelled from the party in 2015 after revelations of explicit messages with a 17-year-old girl. Danczuk ran as an independent in 2017 but finished fifth with just 1.8%. At this by-election, he is running as the far-right Reform’s candidate.

Former Conservative MP Scott Benton was suspended from parliament for 35 days on Tuesday. As the suspension is greater than ten days, it triggers a recall petition in Benton’s seat of Blackpool South. The petition will be open for six weeks, and if at least 10% of voters in Blackpool South sign, there will be a by-election. The Conservatives gained Blackpool South from Labour at the 2019 election, winning by a 49.6-38.3 margin with 6.1% for the Brexit Party.

Trump and Biden dominate in Michigan

At Tuesday’s US Republican Michigan primary, Donald Trump defeated Nikki Haley by 68.1-26.6. Only 16 of Michigan’s 55 delegates were allocated, with a further 39 to be assigned in Saturday’s state convention. Idaho, Washington DC and North Dakota also hold Republican contests before Super Tuesday next week (Wednesday AEDT). Trump leads Haley by 122 delegates to 24, with 1,215 needed to win the nomination.

Joe Biden won the Democratic Michigan primary with 81.1%. Owing to opposition to Biden’s position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, some on the left had urged voters to vote “uncommitted”, but uncommitted only won 13.2%.

25 comments on “UK Rochdale by-election live”

  1. The post doesn’t mention that the Green candidate has also been disendorsed (for past inflammatory comments about Muslims and Palestinians), which adds yet another layer to the mess.

  2. @KCW @Hugoaugogo

    Unlike in Australia where votes are counted at individual polling places so results get known very quickly as they complete their counts.

    Here in the UK there is only one result as we have centralised counts where all votes are counted together and a single result given,

    We don’t even count postal votes separately. They are mixed in with on the day ballot papers.

    BBC has suggested around 3am for a result.

  3. Turnout under 40%. Could have something to do with the candidate for the Monster Raving Loony Party being the most sensible candidate on offer.

  4. Rumours are that Galloway has won.

    BBC reporting count is done but Galloway not yet in attendance – so announcement delayed.

  5. Mostly Interested says:
    Friday, March 1, 2024 at 1:24 pm
    “What party is Galloway ?

    Edit, never mind found it.

    So who’s the Workers Party”

    A: George Galloway.
    To the left of Labour

  6. One of the independents – a Rev Mark Coleman (Just Stop Oil) made an illuminating comment to the BBC

    “I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but people like local candidates but we are all local candidates and the the some of the other candidates are not so local, so we have that sense of what’s wrong. And what’s possible. In the community.”

    I think I know what he meant

  7. BBC reports

    “Workers Party of GB candidate George Galloway wins the Rochdale by-election

    The former Labour and Respect Party MP, whose campaign focused heavily on Gaza, overturns a Labour majority with 12,335 votes

    David Tully, an independent, comes second. Turnout in the by-election was 39.7%

    Voters in the Greater Manchester seat went to the polls on Thursday to choose a new MP following the death of Sir Tony Lloyd last month
    Eleven candidates contested the by-election and the result marks a rejection of the major parties, with Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems performing poorly”

  8. Chris C at 11.59 am

    From Adrian: “Counting in the UK doesn’t happen by booth as in Australia. Instead all votes cast in a seat are taken to one place for the count.”

    The English are stuck-in-the-mud re electoral processes. Couldn’t accept preferential voting in 2011, and can’t even do specific, localised, quick counting that enables Antony Green to get his computer tracking the likely result ASAP.

    The poor Poms are nearly as backward as the USA, but at least they know their own rules.

  9. I can’t see Galloway doing anything but causing trouble for Labour. But they f’ed up with their candidate and then there was nothing they could do. They should have advocated a vote for the Independent or Liberal Democrat or something.
    However, It will probably be a mere blimp heading into the General Election.

  10. Yep. Galloway is one of the greatest orators to ever grace the House of commons, or any parliament for that manner, plus he puts his beliefs ahead of pragmatic career considerations, which is a mighty attraction as well.

  11. To quote Andrew Landeryou’s (the widower of the late Senator Kitching) blog from the past – George Galloway slithers back in.

    This time it might not be for very long, though.

  12. Galloway is nothing but an opportunist – a leftist populist.

    If the Tories think this will wrong foot Labour for a while, Sunak might to got to the election after next weeks budget for May 2.

    Another thing to note is that Reform under performed compared to other recent results. Sure it is not exactly the prime area for their brand of popularism but given the missing Labour and Green campaigns one would have expected a better result.

  13. What is “leftist populist” anyway? Someone who doesn’t want children being murdered, or people being left homeless while the 1% hoard wealth and real estate, wanting a country where food banks don’t need to exist and where you don’t have massive waiting lists for the NHS?

  14. There is a big lesson for Labour, and indeed Labor, in this. Just because the conservatives are completely on the nose, does not mean people will therefore vote Labour/Labor.

    The day when all on the progressive, or indeed the non-conservative side, are going to have to work together.

    The Teals are a case in point. Those electors could not vote for an LNP government but they still couldn’t bring themselves to vote Labor, or in most cases, even Green.

    The left has to learn this lesson, and learn it quickly.

  15. Melbourne Mammoth wrote, “To quote Andrew Landeryou’s (the widower of the late Senator Kitching) blog from the past – George Galloway slithers back in.”

    Well a horrible little Tory stooge would write that wouldn’t he?

  16. Adrian, important correction. The Speaker did not select a Labour amendment instead of an SNP amendment. It was an SNP motion. The Speaker allowed a vote on a Labour amendment to that motion, meaning that if the Labour amendment carried, there wouldn’t be a vote on the motion as originally proposed.

    In Australia, we would regard this as what should happen. Brits are weird with amendment selection, being a discretionary Speaker power. Historically for motions of this type (‘opposition day motions’) other opposition parties have not had their amendments selected.

  17. George Galloway acceptance speech… ” I want to put the councillors on notice that we intend to clean the town hall clock”

  18. I have observed him for decades as residing in the UK, and George Galloway is not only an opportunist (after all, many politicians are), but the worst kind, trading in death and tragedy to promote. . . George Galloway.

    As Labour said after he won, “we know George Galloway, and he has been shown time and again to care only about. . . George Galloway.”

    The fact that he was personally warm with Saddam Hussein, frequently visiting him and cutting deals on oil with him, tells you all to know.
    Although being a regular speaker on Russia Today before it got banned a couple of years ago in the UK is another pointer.

    He’s blatantly, proudly anti-semitic – all his career, nothing to do with the recent terrorist attacks and subsequent war – which is why he always chooses seats with high Muslim populations, who worship the ground he walks on, at least until he’s been around long enough to show how lazy he is in reality and sometimes even after then. Though it’s notable he rarely holds onto the seats he wins since he got booted out of the Labour party.

    I can agree with the other comments that he’s a gifted, compelling orator – with a very similar provocative style to a certain leader of the German national socialists in the 1920s and 1930s.

  19. So within hours of him taking his seat today and swearing the oath he announced he won’t fight the seat in the general election but will instead go and fight in Angela Rayners seat instead!

    He has form with this. And the people or Rochdale won’t get him to do any case work because he doesn’t do that.

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