It was 'the best day of Galloway's life' – then the eggs rained in

Bradford West's new MP describes his victory as a 'truly historic result'

Mark Branagan
Saturday 31 March 2012 02:03

It was not quite the reception George Galloway had hoped for as he greeted his new constituents on a day he had described as "the best" of his life.

The by-election victor was ambushed as he left the city centre HQ of his Respect party by protester Thomas Chippendale, who lobbed a dozen eggs at the new Bradford West MP – but missed.

Lying in wait earlier, Mr Chippendale, 26, a salesman, said: "I voted Monster Raving Loony Party. I can't believe they let this guy in. I'm gutted. He has come here just to line his pockets.

"I am so disgusted he got in. He is a leech and a parasite. He just got in because he took advantage of the unsecured Muslim vote and everyone got on the bandwagon. I was born and raised in Bradford but am very disappointed in my city – which is why I brought the eggs."

But while he splattered the street with yokes his target – a veteran egg dodger – eluded his aim. Supporters swarmed across the road and formed a human wall between Mr Galloway and his attacker, who fled before police arrived.

With no egg on his face, Mr Galloway boarded his celebratory open-top bus unabashed, twirling his victory cigar, and took up position in the "prow" of the top deck, arms stretched out before him and microphone in hand.

He spent the rest of the afternoon breathing fiery rhetoric over Bradford's unassuming streets, delivering a flamboyant thank you to the voters that was as captivating as it was surreal. Puffing his chest out like a commander-in-chief, he pointed out Bradford political landmarks and declared himself "the new broom that will sweep clean the corridors of power".

There was only the occasional outburst of heckling. To a shout of "You should support the troops", Galloway snapped back: "I do support the troops. That's why I want them to come home alive with all their limbs. It is the Government who are sending them to their deaths."

He pointed an accusing finger at Bradford City Hall before declaring that the Respect party's next target would be the local government elections in five weeks' time.

He described his victory "as a truly historic result" that showed "people do not want to vote for Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee. They want a political leader they can believe in, who believes in what they're saying, and says what they mean."

Mr Galloway's support yesterday appeared rock solid among the city's Asian population, but more divided among white voters. Richard Jefferson, 36 and unemployed, said: "I voted for George because he seemed like the best. It is the first time I have ever voted and I did it because Bradford needs change."

Adrian Parkinson, 41, a draftsman, stuck to his guns as a Labour voter but believed Mr Galloway's political clout would win the day. He said: "A lot of people probably just voted for him because they have seen him on TV."

Shilpa Patel, 29, whose family has run a fruit and vegetable shop in Manningham, north of the city centre, for 45 years, said: "I have always voted Conservative before. But he changed my mind. We met someone new who is going to fight on and speak out for us."

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