Former MP George Galloway, leader of Britain’s left-wing socialist Respect party, is to challenge his defeat in Thursday’s election, which saw him lose his seat in parliament.
In a brief address on Sunday, Galloway claimed that there had been “widespread malpractice” in postal voting, which meant that the results must be “set aside.” Galloway lost to Labour’s candidate by the large margin of some 11,000 votes.
He also disputed a statement made on an Urdu-language television show that his opponent in the elections, Naz Shah, had been forcibly married to her cousin at the age of 15, claiming that he had obtained a marriage certificate from Pakistan showing that Shah had been married at 16.
“This is pathetic and without any foundation,” a Labour spokesman said of Galloway’s intent to challenge the election results. “George Galloway should accept he was booted out by the people of Bradford West. They saw through his divisive politics and made a positive choice, by a majority of well over 11,000, to elect a brilliant new MP, Naz Shah.”
After the election results were announced, Galloway said: “I don’t begrudge the Labour members here their moment of celebration, of course. But there will be others who are already celebrating: the venal and the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating. The hyena can dance on the lion’s grave, but it can never be a lion. And in any case, I’m not in my grave. As a matter of fact, I’m going off now to plan my next campaign.”
Galloway, a virulently anti-Israel politician, is known for his championing of pro-Palestinian issues — to the point of declaring his city of Bradford off-limits to Israelis. He was for years an outspoken supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad and a critic of Western military interventions in the Middle East.
AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.