March 30, 2012 / 2:23 AM / 6 years ago

Labour loses seat in by-election

LONDON (Reuters) - The Labour party lost one of its safest parliamentary seats after a by-election in northern England, in the strongest sign yet that new leader Ed Miliband is failing to cash in on disenchantment with the Conservative government.

Respect Party candidate George Galloway gestures as he arrives at his campaign office in Bradford, northern England, March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Darren Staples

George Galloway, an anti-war campaigner in the small, left-wing Respect party, beat Labour’s Imran Hussain in a result announced on Friday with more than 18,341 votes from a by-election on Thursday for the seat of Bradford West.

Galloway, who unsuccessfully ran for office in the 2010 general election and the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, had a plurality of more than 10,000 votes.

He described the win, which toppled Labour from a seat it had held since 1974, as “the most sensational result in British by-election history”.

“Labour has been hit by a tidal wave in a seat it held for many decades in a city it dominated for 100 years,” Galloway said.

Labour candidate Hussain came second with 8,201 votes, while Conservative candidate Jackie Whiteley was third, with 2,746. Turnout was 50.8 percent.

Galloway, a divisive figure on the left, was expelled from Tony Blair’s Labour party in 2003 for his vociferous opposition to the Iraq war - having accused Blair and George Bush of attacking Iraq “like wolves”.

Additional reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Michael Roddy

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