George Galloway, who was expelled from the U.K. Labour Party under Prime Minister Tony Blair over his opposition to the Iraq War, was unexpectedly re-elected to the House of Commons in a special election in northern England. Galloway, running for the Respect Party, took 56 percent of the vote in yesterday’s election in the Bradford West district. He beat Labour, the main opposition party in the Commons, which previously held the seat, into second place. Labour’s candidate, Imran Hussain, took 25 percent. Jackie Whiteley of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives came third with 8.4 percent. Bradford West had the third highest proportion of Muslim residents of any electoral district at the time of the 2001 census, at 37.6 percent. Galloway, who was expelled from Labour in 2003, took Bethnal Green and Bow in east London, the second most Muslim constituency, from the party on an anti-war ticket in 2005. He failed to win a seat in the Commons in 2010.
In his victory speech, Galloway described the result as the “Bradford Spring,” and said Labour “must stop imagining that working people and poor people have no option but to support them if they hate the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition partners.”
Bookmakers Ladbrokes Plc said Galloway, who started the campaign as a 33-1 outsider, had created such an upset it faced payouts of as much as 100,000 pounds ($160,000), the biggest ever for a British special election.