George Galloway, the British politician remanded to all but oblivion after being expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 and losing office in 2010, made an unexpected comeback Friday when he upset Britain’s major political party candidates to win a parliamentary by-election.
Victory by a large margin indicates public support for Galloway is strong. Labour members of the House of Commons and others in Britain’s political establishment are no doubt dreading the return of the confrontational style of “Gorgeous” George, as he came to be called, to parliamentary debate.
Galloway is famous in part for his testimony before a U.S. Senate committee in 2005, where he gave a withering rebuttal to charges that he illegally profited from the United Nations’ Iraqi Oil-for-Food program. See video of that hearing below.
Guardian reporter Helen Pidd was present at the election count and explains the circumstances of Galloway’s surprise return here. —ARK
It appeared that the seat’s Muslim community had decamped from Labour en masse to Galloway’s call for an immediate British troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and a fightback against the job crisis.
On a turnout of 50.78%, Labour’s shellshocked candidate Imran Hussain was crushed by a 36.59% swing from Labour to Respect that saw Galloway take the seat with a majority of 10,140.
Labour had held the seat in 2010 with a majority of 5,763. It marks an extraordinary personal and political comeback for the controversial politician who lost in the UK general election in 2010, and in the Scottish parliament in 2011, appearing to confirm that the remainder of his career would lie in broadcasting and celebrity programmes.