Galloway’s win in Rochdale has little to do with Gaza, and more to do with propping up his fragile ego.

It is with deep regret the Labour Party had to withdraw support from its candidate, but it was the right decision nonetheless and a sign of how far the party has come in tackling antisemitism by its roots.

Galloway’s victory in Rochdale brings great shame, not only for our democracy but to the legacy of the widely admired Sir Tony Lloyd. A great man known for his warmth and ability to bring people together, now succeeded by a chancer seeking only to divide communities, when he is not taking money from Russian-funded TV channels to defend Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is evidenced in his desperation to become an MP regardless of the constituency or any of the existing local issues. Displaying almost a hunger to create and exploit divisions to prop up his failed career.

The events of October 7th and the subsequent war between Israel and Hamas have led to unprecedented levels of antisemitic attacks as well as anti-muslim hatred. Now more than ever communities need to be brought together, to heal the divisions the conflict in the Middle East has created. The Labour Party has been and continues to be the only party that has sought to tread that difficult but right path. 

In contrast is the record of Galloway. What is most shameful is how he has often portrayed himself as an ally of the Muslim community – he recently claimed in his letter to residents in Rochdale that he has fought for Muslims at home and abroad “for all of his life and “paid a price for it”. It will be a shock to him to find out that among his supporters is Nick Griffins of the BNP, a man who described Islam as a “vicious, wicked faith”. 

According to Galloway, he is an ally of the Muslim community, but only just fails to denounce support from racists when it suits. 

The Rochdale by-election has unmasked serious problems that we must not shy away from taking on. How do we bring our communities back and make sure extremists like Galloway can’t easily divide us? It is only right the Labour Party takes full stock of this result. I will be on the doorsteps in Rochdale once we select a candidate for the General Election. Regardless if Galloway is an MP for three or nine months, the damage he will do will be felt for much longer.  

But the eventual downfall of Galloway isn’t guaranteed. He must be challenged, and more importantly, held to account as an MP. As the voters in Tower Hamlets and Bradford know, as soon as Rochdale isn’t relevant to him, he’ll move on to the next town, seeking to sow new divisions in the same way. Pitting Muslims and Jews against one another, all to gain power. But like most populists Galloway’s high self regard will catch up on him, and his awful record as an MP will inevitably lead to his downfall once again.