• Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UK News

George Galloway: Next election will be about Muslims

George Galloway swears in as the new MP for Rochdale at the House of Commons in London, Britain, March 4, 2024. UK Parliament/Maria Unger/Handout via REUTERS

By: Pramod Thomas

THE new Rochdale MP has said that the upcoming election would be about Muslims and the taking away of civil liberties in this country.

After sworn into the Commons as the new lawmaker for Rochdale on Monday (4), George Galloway highlighted prime minister Rishi Sunak’s focus on “Muslims and Gaza” as a strategic issue for his re-election, reported The Telegraph.

“They want to force [Keir] Starmer either to stand up and defend the democratic rights of the British people, including the rights of its religious and ethnic minorities – and if he does that I’m a Dutchman – or to engage him in what will turn out to be a Dutch auction of nastiness,” Galloway, the leader of the Workers Party of Britain and a former Labour MP, was quoted as saying.

“If he chooses, as I suspect he will, the latter, that’s going to allow us and independent candidates to pick up potentially millions of votes from those who treasure the free rights that we have enjoyed since the Second World War in this country, and who wish to defend the Muslim communities in Britain.”

The MP asserted that he represented a significant portion of the British populace and highlighted that voters in numerous constituencies shared his perspectives.

His wife, Putri Gayatri Pertiwi, displayed a fingernail adorned with the Palestinian flag while her husband addressed the gathering outside the Palace of Westminster, the report said.

He also announced plans to challenge Angela Rayner’s seat in Ashton-under-Lyne, boasting of having 15,000 supporters in the constituency, potentially enough to overturn Rayner’s 4,000-vote majority.

Galloway urged former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to launch and lead an alliance of “socialist, progressive and anti-war organisations”.

On Friday (1), the veteran left-wing political maverick vowed to be a thorn in the side for the opposition Labour over Gaza before a national election it is tipped to win.

After running a pro-Palestinian campaign, Galloway won over many of Rochdale’s Muslim community by attacking both Labour and governing Tories for supporting Israel in its war against Hamas.

He won 12,335 votes in the by-election compared with 6,638 for second-placed David Tully, an independent candidate. The former Labour candidate, Azhar Ali, came fourth after the opposition party pulled its support from him over a recording espousing conspiracy theories about Israel.

On Monday, Neale Hanvey, the Alba MP, and Sir Peter Bottomley, the Father of the House, introduced the new MP to the commons.

Galloway’s return to the parliament is expected to stir up tensions in the chamber, with the Board of Deputies of British Jews calling for him to be “shunned as a pariah by all parliamentarians”.

Born in the Scottish city of Dundee, he was first elected as a Labour lawmaker to the parliament in 1987 to a seat in Glasgow, and soon gained a reputation for controversy.

In 1994, he drew criticism for meeting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and telling him: “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.”

He was an outspoken critic of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War, leading to his suspension from Labour in 2003. He joined the anti-war Respect Party in 2005 and won the London seat of Bethnal Green and Bow in that year’s national election.

(with inputs from Reuters)

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