Bradford West by-election liveblog

29th March, 2012 10:04 pm

2.28: Respect 18,341 Labour 8,201 – and on that note. Goodnight.

2.02: The result has been apparent for two hours or more now, but we’re still waiting for the results.

00.55: Galloway says Respect will fight all Bradford seats in the May local elections.

00.51: A surprisingly high 50%+ turnout in the election. Eyebrows will certainly be raised at that.

00.50: Galloway interviewed on Sky News appears to lay the blame at the door of Tony Blair for Labour’s loss. That seems a stretch.

00.33: George Galloway has claimed victory. I’m hanging on for the final result – but it’s all over bar the shouting.

00.26: If the liveblog seems to have gone quiet, that’s because there’s not much to say, until the final result comes…

00.08: All sorts of rumours now, from Galloway winning 75% of postal votes, to having won 50% or more or the vote. None of them suggest a way back for Labour. It would be foolish to say that Galloway has definitely won – but it’s hard to see any other result now.

23.58: Now we’re hearing that the Tory vote has “collapsed” – they were on 31% two years ago. it’ll be a fraction of that now. Little comfort for Labour people right now though.

23.50: We should have the official turnout figure in 15 minutes.

23.44: Labour MPs appear to have now accepted defeat according to Jon Craig – “Labour MPs now privately predicting Galloway win in Bradford West. ”

23.35: According to Helen Pidd of the Guardian on Twitter, Labour’s Imran Hussain is “getting thrashed by galloway in his own ward, Toller.” Meanwhile Britain Votes suggest that Galloway has a 2:1 advantage. This count only seems to be heading one way – and it’s a very, very bad one for Labour.

23.23: We need to bear in mind that Respect do well on postal votes. Those votes are likely to have been some of those counted first. And counting just started at 11pm, so we shouldn’t get too carried away yet. People should bear this in mind before they worry.

23.14: Have just heard from someone in Bradford. “Not good at all” was their message. That sounds very ominous indeed. There’s now a very real chance that Labour could lose this by-election.

23.11: It’s dangerous to go by Twitter chatter, but there doesn’t seem to be much coming out of the Labour Party tonight – activists, MPs or anyone else. Plenty of Galloway supporters and sympathisers emphasising his chances though…

23.00: For those who have asked – we’re expecting the result between 1 and 2am. However if turnout is lower than expected (22.55) then that might mean the result comes sooner.

22.55: Local BBC reporter Nick Morris says turnout “very low. Poss low thirties despite great weather today”. That’s despite reports from Labour people on the ground that turnout for the Labour vote had been quite good (despite “slippage” 22.09). However Morris has also said that Galloway has “noticably large heaps of postal votes”. Stand by – it’s going to be an interesting night…

22.45: Let us not forget that unfounded rumours have circulated before on by-election nights, especially around postal votes (which no-one ever really knows about for sure) – so take everything you read here (and elsewhere) with a pinch of salt. Until the votes start stacking up on the table that is – then we can start to say that we know for sure…

22.41: While we wait for more news – check out some of this absolutely delightful campaigning from Galloway….

22.36: Most of the news tonight will be about Labour, and probably about how well (or otherwise) George Galloway performs too. But look beyond that, the Tories were 5,000 votes behind Labour in 2010 – has this week hurt them in the kind of Northern seat they need to target for an overall majority?

22.33: Sky News’s Jon Craig predicts the following “Labour win, George Galloway 2nd, Tories pushed into 3rd place after fuel blunders.” Not sure if that’s based on info from the ground, but it tallies with what I’ve heard.

22.20: Whilst Labour people have been pounding the streets and knocking on doors today, George Galloway adopted a somewhat different strategy – according to this video posted earlier by a Respect supporter.

22.12: I should stress of course that postal vote info (22.02) is all rumours – obviously postal vote count is secret, despite attempts by all parties to guess how things are going.

22.09: As for the reaction on the doorstep, the Labour vote seems to have been holding up, but there appears to have been some “slippage” to Respect in majority Muslim areas. In other parts of the constituency, turnout is high, and Labour’s vote appears strong.

22.02: I asked yesterday if Labour could lose Bradford West (although I said that such a result was unlikely). The reaction from the ground has been mixed so far, but still seems positive for Labour. However I’m hearing recently that postal votes were “50/50”. If that’s true, the whole result will come down to turnout on the day…

22.00: Polls Bradfford West, and we’re beginning our by-election liveblog, taking you through the night and the result early tomorrow morning. We’re anticipating a final result between 1 and 2pm.

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  • I was knocking on doors and trying to get vote out with others from 11am to 5 pm in Allerton/Clayton. On the whole pretty positive response from voters. Lots of Labour posters. Came across the Galloway campaign bus which was sight to behold – like something from looney tunes!!

    • Peter Barnard

      @ Graeme Hancocks,

      Well done and well played, Graeme. I’m afraid Bradford is a mite too far from where I live (Chester).

      Just out of interest – were they using Reading pads or WARP?

    • raja

      Them Looney Tunes have left you hung to dry !

  • ianrobo

    Been here before Mark, Labour people always notorious for playing things down, remember Oldham ?

    Galloway is a wild card but expect a lot of former LD’s voting for him

    • 0a

      Oh dear it looks like we’ll have to see a lot more of him in the future – the BBC love him.

      Not good news for Ed Miliband.

  • Rob

    As a disgruntled ex labour voter I still hope you thrash Galloway. He is something vile. 

  • Politique

    It will be close. Dont know how this will look for Labour if Galloway wins or only just loses. He has a large following in the asian community for his stance on Blair and Iraq. This is still remembered. This is going to be really interesting

    • Politique

      Right again Ed. 7 years of being right. 7 years of your ignorance

  • GuyM

    I think I can guess the Tory Party (private) view on this:

    1 Where is Bradford?

    2 Who cares what Bradford votes for?

    and no I’ve never been to Bradford and have no desire to change that fact for the rest of my life.

    • Brumanuensis

      That’ll be Bradford, a city that had a Tory-led council during much of the 1980s – leader Eric Pickles – and which currently has 32 Tory councillors, to 39 Labour ones.

      Stop embarrassing yourself Guy.

      • GuyM

        Do grow up, Tory high command will look at it as an unwinnable seat and have mixed feelings about Galloway giving Red Ed a bloody nose.

        1980 to 2012… work out the level of immigration and then tell me what chance the Tories have?

        What went on in 1980 is totally and utterly irrelevant to the ethnic, social and voting make up of Bradford in 2012.

        • Brumanuensis

          Did you deliberately ignore the recent city council results? Not to mention that the Tories weren’t that far behind in 2010. This isn’t a no-hoper seat by any means and if the Tories are seriously writing off cities like Bradford, they have no hope of winning a majority. 

          • GuyM

            I don’t think the tories have an earthly in Bradford and would better spend their money elsewhere.

            As a city I’d leave the thing to implode as well.

        • John Ruddy

          There was still a very large ethnic population in the 1980’s when Eric was in charge. You need to read “The Pickles Papers” to get up to speed…

    •  I live in the coutryside outisde Bradford. It is a a very divided city racially.  GG ran a racist campaign. This result confirms just how divided, ghettoised acity it is.  I think this confirms  Bradford has a grim future.

      • GuyM

        Yep I’d agree with all of that.

  • Bill Lockhart

    What we do know about postal votes is that the system stinks to high heaven. I hope the Electoral Commission are watching this count like hawks.

  • Petermitche11

    Imran Husseins dad just confirmed its not looking good for Labour..

  • Brumanuensis

    I am feeling ill at the thought of Galloway winning. What the hell has gone wrong with the Labour campaign? Galloway was buried in Poplar – a constituency with a sizeable Muslim vote –  two years ago and now somehow the little creep has popped back into contention, against a Muslim candidate, at a time when Labour are 10% ahead in the opinion polls.

    I repeat. What the hell has gone wrong?

    • derek

      Wuthering Heights? lets wait and see. 

    • Philipfoxe

      What’s gone wrong? Labour has become a right-wing, undemocratic, free market, war – mongering bosses’ party, that’s what!

      • Brumanuensis

        Do you really believe that crap Philipfoxe? I yield to no-one in my criticisms of ‘New’ Labour, but flinging around communist tripe like ‘bosses party’ proves that you don’t understand the mentality of the electorate.

        • Percyeve

          First rule about ‘understanding the electorate’: Don’t talk about ‘the electorate’.

        • Brumanuensis

          That was a bit intemperate, to which I plead being angry at the outcome of the poll.

      •  Since 2010? This is reality calling…

  • I despair for Bradford if it elects this cynical opportunist as MP. 

  • Mike Homfray

    It does rather give the lie to people like Rob Marchant who think that issues around Palestine are only of concern to a few extremists. I don’t think I have ever met a Muslim who isn’t deeply concerned by the lack of support given to the Palestinians and the way Israel is allowed to constantly break UN resolutions and international law.

    • GuyM

      Poor little Israel, completely surrounded by hostile muslim states.

      I’m well aware people like yourself Mike would like Israel to disappear, the left has never forgiven them for being the only democracy in the region and siding with the US in the cold war.

      Tell you what, when some of those muslim states and the palestinians transform away from sharia and dictatorships then we can talk about Israel.

      As Christian by heritage I’m deeply concerned about the coptics getting killed in Egypt and Christian converts living in fear of execution as apostates, maybe I should elect a racist MP in my area out of solidarity with the Christian “Umma”?

      I do though find it funny that the UN is so revered when it’s full of anti democratic states. The security council dependent on Russia and China and it even elected Iran onto a human rights committee if I remember correctly.

    • Chilbaldi

      Oh, lets vote Galloway in that case. He’s clearly a well balanced individual.

      Or maybe Palestine has sweet fa to do with it and you are scoring a cheap, irrelevant point?

  • Petermitche11

    Perhaps if Labour actually gave a damn about the working class you might have made a better fist of this by-election.

  • Skahmedmd

    Sky news has said George galloway has given labour a knock out blow and will win by a large majority

  • jon

    Hahahaha you’re up against one of the most calamitous governments of recent times in the longest recession since The Great Depression and you’ve literally been beaten by a man who likes dressing up as a red cat.

  • derek

    George must be over the 40% mark then and turnout would seem to have been reasonable to good according to the time it’s taken to announce the return.

  • Brumanuensis

    ALERT: Radio 5 Live have just reported the turnout was 51%. Sorry to jump your gun Mark.

    • Brumanuensis

      Helen Pidd says 55%. I could have sworn I heard 51%.

  • Geraint

    Galloway was a part time MP for bethal green and bow, and will be a part time MP for Bradford. He is only interested in furthing his own profile, not in his consituants, not in the soliders fighting in Afghanastan, and not for the Afghan people.  Galloway will be kicked out by the 2015 general election, on a higher turn out.

    • Brumanuensis

      God I hope so, Geraint.

  • Philipfoxe

    Galloway is certainly an arrogant ****. I have met people who had experience of him in his early Labour days who hate him as a backroom carve up merchant. He is certainly a vain egotist. However, that such a person can wipe the floor with Labour in a safe seat shows 
    just how much people hate the Labour Party. It is seen as the party of war, as the party which rolls over in awe of big business. The membership have no say over anything at all and they are just seen as mugs by the big boys. This shows the potential support for a radical party. I am not very optimistic that such a party can be built in the near future but it shows the complete lack of faith in Labour.

  • Geraint

    I just hope that, if we have lost this by-election, that no silly infighting or plotting begins. We are finally on the initive, and finally getting some real solid blows against the Tories, to let them off the hook by turning in on ourselves would be a massive mistake and stupid. Hopefully no idiots within the party will try to make this into something it is not and let the real enemies off the hook.

  • Asmahomed

    Does any one know what time the results will be broadcasted?

  • Watfordcoalitionofresistance

    You call this a ‘live blog’? Where are the ATL comments, analysis, background, links to alternative reading?                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  • Brumanuensis

    18,341 (GG) vs 8,201 (L) vs 1,505 (LD) vs 2,746 (C)

    • Brumanuensis

      ‘Bradfordgrad’ , for short.

  • Brumanuensis

    Good News: Our majority over the Tories is unchanged!

  • Colin

    I was going to say that, instead of doing photoshoots where he shoves a pasty into his grinning face, Ed should have campaigned in Bradford. Then I discovered that he actually did – which goes some way to explaining the result.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I’m sorry for Labour on this result.  Did anyone else get the feeling that there was a huge amount of family / tribal politics going on?  I certainly did from the rather surprising amount of polarised comments on the selection thread a few weeks ago.  The Labour candidate appears to have been an oligarchical stitch-up for a favoured son, but the electorate seem to have been swayed by a different faction.

    I imagine in 2015 normal service will resume.

    • Daniel Speight

       Well you can have Jaime’s conspiracy theory or …

      Do you think there may be anger out there in Muslim communities over various invasions and wars? Of course there are some religious extremist only too ready to take advantage of that anger, but the anger was there already by the looks of it.

      • mikestallard

        In many, many Muslim households, the head of the Family handles the bloc vote. In a proper election this, of course, is quite impossible.
        Thanks to the swindle of the Postal Vote, however, it is remarkably easy. The other people in the family like the women, the sons and especially the daughters just never get to see the ballot papers at all. But – hey – who cares?
        And that is why, in my own opinion, people who cannot get out to vote should not get the privilege. And I mean the ones in wheel chairs who, in my opinion, very often get out of the cars from the disabled parking lots and do some serious shopping in wheelchairs. Like my own Mum of 100 this year.
        It is up to the political parties to get the vote out.

  • SS

    He won coz he Cares more of the real issues in hand and not just for being a puppit to the system, you stupid blind deluded ppl

  • mikestallard

    Postal votes in a Muslim Community!
    You must be mad.

  • Rodnewell292

    its all about nick clegg andthe pm

  • Rodnewell292

    its all about clegg and cameron

  • The Electorial Commission

    The Labour Party made it easy for GG; personation and ‘head of household’ postal votes would have been rampant. 

  • UKAzeri


  • G Barratt

    What about a bit of analysis instead of waffle? I suggest  the following reasons why Respect won the Bradford West bye-election with a massive majority:-

    1. After nearly two years, the LP still has a policy vacuum, and Ed M still looks like a plasticine cartoon character rather than an alternative prime minister. In contrast, George G has a remarkable command of rhetoric.

    2. There is growing anger among public sector workers, teachers  and lecturers. Have we forgotten about the Occupy movement and student demonstrations last year?

    3. Bradford West demographically may have  large Muslim vote, which can be multiplied by heads of families using postal votes for the rest of the household.  Burning the Koran in Afghanistan is not the way to make friends and influence people.

    George Barratt
    from Darkest Barking and Dagenham

  • Graemeyh

     Although not a Labour party member for some years, living in the
    neighbouring consituency  I volunteered to help yesterday for several
    hours in Allerton and Clayton ward (semi rural ward on edge of Bradford
    West). The response on the doorstep was fairly positive and I did not
    have the sense that Galloway was going to run away with it – which he
    obviously did!  I did sense that in that particular ward turn out might
    be low and that it might be a close run thing.

    I was dismayed, though, at what I heard from some Asian voters on the
    door step –  that the Labour candidate was  “a drunkard”, and  “bad
    muslim”  amongst other things.  Obviously, I cannot varify these claims
    but did my best to refute them.  Perhaps I was naive in assuming that
    BAME’s were models of liberal democracy and decorum, as I also picked up
    some anti-semitic, homophobic and racist sentiments – which  surprised
    me, as I  associate such views with the BNP.

    There seems to have been a very heavy turnout in wards with a large
    Asian vote and a much lower turnout in other wards.  Clearly  GG had
    galvanised the Asian vote and they flocked to vote for him.  I did not
    sense that there was much appeal in GG or Respect for traditional
    working or lower mddle class Labour voters. But the Labour candidate –
    indeed no candidate –  do not  inspire them to come out in any force
    whatsoever to vote.  It would be interesting to know the percentages but
    I would guess that
    70% of  voters in predominanly Asian wards came out to vote and most 
    voted for GG. In the other wards I think turnout might have been as low
    30% and here I think Labour might have fared reasonably ok. But
    obviously the former vastly  swamped the latter.

    I don’t think that Labour really takes the BAME vote for granted. That
    was just one of the things that Respect claimed in order to portray
    Labour as “out of touch” and itself as the “party of the (local)
    people”.  I would suggest the people of Bradford West are going to
    discover the reality and the rhetoric rather different, as did the
    people of Bethnal Green and Bow on that one. That was not the reason
    Labour lost Bradford West. 

    It has nothing to do with Ed Milliband either. The Archangel Gabriel
    could have led the Labour party and the result would have been the

    Labour was not prepared for the fast bowling, aggressive whirlwind that
    was the  GG campaign.  How one mitigates against cynical manipulation
    and “dog whistle” politics I really do not know.  But the Labour
    candidate (and team) needs to be as feisty, streetwise, experienced and
    tough as GG and Respect  – prepared to take them on and challenge at
    every turn – rather than the young and gentlemanly candidate Labour had
    in Mr Hussain.

    Just my obeservations, for what they’re worth.

  • thinkov

    i’m looking forward to a coalition with respect at the next election


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