Labour attempts to pick up pieces after shock Galloway victory

 

Ed Miliband today vowed that the Labour Party would ‘learn lessons’ from its shock defeat to Respect in the Bradford West by-election, while shadow chancellor Ed Balls defended his leader against criticisms in the wake of the result.

Respect’s George Galloway stole the seat from Labour last night with a majority of over 10,000 in a by-election called after the resignation of former Labour MP Marsha Singh due to ill health.

While Mr Galloway described the result as “a very comprehensive defeat for New Labour”, Mr Miliband was keen today to look into what caused his party to perform so poorly.

He said: “It was an incredibly disappointing result for Labour in Bradford West and I am determined that we learn lessons of what happened.

"I'm going to lead that. I'm going to be going back to the constituency in the coming weeks to talk to people there about why this result happened.

"Clearly there were local factors, but I also say only four out of 10 people voted for the three mainstream political parties.

"We've got to understand the reasons why that happened in Bradford.

"Above all it reinforces for me something that I've emphasised throughout my leadership which is that we need to be engaged and rooted in every community of this country.

"We need to show to people that our politics, that Labour politics, can make a difference to people's lives."

Conservative chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi was quick to point out the failings of Mr Miliband’s party, attacking its failing to capitalize on the Coalition’s recent difficulties over fuel tanker strikes, warm food tax and the ‘dinner donors’ scandal, despite her own party suffering a larger swing than Labour.

Baroness Warsi said: "If Labour can't win one of their safe seats in these tough economic times and in a tough week for the Government, how can they win anywhere?

"Not in half a century has an Opposition come back from such an appalling result to win a majority at the next general election.

"This tells you everything you need to know about Ed Miliband's weak leadership."

However, shadow chancellor Ed Balls appeared on BBC Radio Leeds this morning to defend his leader and party, claiming Mr Miliband was “winning back our heartland voters”.

One caller to the show Mr Balls appeared on accused Labour of fielding an Asian candidate to appeal to Asian voters, claiming: “People see through that now.

“You have to put good candidates up if you want to get votes.

"You can't just rely on putting a Pakistani candidate up, thinking you're going to get all the votes."

But Mr Balls insisted Labour candidate Imran Hussain was selected through a proper selection process, adding: "The reality is he lost, George Galloway won and we are a democracy and in politics the voters choose."

As he did in east London in the 2005 general election to win the seat of Bethnal Green and Bow, Mr Galloway targeted the large community of Asian voters in Bradford, but speaking denied exploiting ethnic tensions on an interview with Sky News' Boulton & Co programme.

He said: "There were no Asian voters in the election yesterday. There were British voters who have suntans like you (Adam Boulton) and I aspire to every summer. That's all.

"Every person in Britain who has a right to vote is the equal of the other. We shouldn't get into any divisiveness along these lines."

Mr Galloway, known for his fervent anti-war views in the past, also called for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, claiming that the deaths of six soldiers earlier this month were "pointless".

He said: "Most people agree with me, those six soldiers, five of them aged under 21, who came back stiff and cold in boxes to Yorkshire... they died in vain. Their deaths were, I'm sorry to say, pointless.

"The war will end on the same terms it could have last week or last year or any year in the last 10 years.

"We don't have the blood to spare and we certainly don't have the treasure to spare in Britain to be going around the world occupying other people's countries and having our young men coming home in boxes."

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
News
i100
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Creche Assistant or Nursery Nurse

£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Creche Assistant to start asap ...

Nursery Nurse Level 3

£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Nursery Nurse Leeds We are now ...

Web Developer/UI Developer (HTML5, CSS3,Jquery) London

£55000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering