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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Bianca Miller in the final of The Apprentice
tvMark Wright and Bianca Miller fight for Lord Sugar's investment
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick