Updated: Saturday, 20th April 2019 @ 3:28pm

Stockport councillor believes George Galloway’s shock by-election victory indicative of Labour failures

Stockport councillor believes George Galloway’s shock by-election victory indicative of Labour failures

By Steven Oldham

A Stockport councillor believes George Galloway’s shock victory in the Bradford West by-election is representative of how the Labour Party have lost touch with the electorate.

Patrick McAuley, a former Labour member, believes the controversial Respect candidate’s win over the traditional heavyweights of British politics is a clear sign people are tired of the status quo.

The Manor councillor, who now stands under the People Matter banner, believes his former party are paying the price for ignoring the public.

He said: “It’s illustrative of the fact that Labour have lost touch with the people they purport to represent.”

“George Galloway will definitely be better for the people of Bradford West. Anyone would have been better than the Labour candidate.”

Bradford West has been a safe Labour seat for the majority of the last 40 years, with the party having held the seat since 1974, excluding a brief period in the 80s when the incumbent MP defected to the now defunct SDP.

Mr Galloway won over half of the vote and beat nearest rival Imran Hussein by over 10,000 votes. Labour’s share of the vote dipped by over 20% compared to predecessor Marsha Singh’s tally, who is resigning on health grounds.

Cllr McAuley believes Labour are now suffering from being too big an organisation to properly understand people's concerns.

“The problems the party have are endemic. They’ve stopped listening as they’ve had the monopoly on left-wing politics for so long. They’ve become institutionalised and when that happens, you don’t think about the people, just the institution.”

Cllr McAuley left the party at the start of the year after changes in his personal circumstances.

He and his wife are expecting a child and McAuley requested financial help to assist his family. He initially wanted to take a year out, and return to his role next year.

“They couldn’t see past the politics. I wanted to carry on but they can’t support their own councillors. If I was to have a year out, they were just looking to see where the votes would go," he said.

“I don’t have the resources or networks a lot of older Labour councillors have. They have shown that is not possible to be a Labour councillor without money, the sort of people the party say they want to support.”

He admits the lack of support from the majority of his former colleagues has been disappointing, though his constituents have stayed loyal. 

“I’m quite proud of my record here. The votes told me they chose me because they could see I wanted to make a difference,” he said. 

Labour leader Ed Miliband has described the loss of Bradford West ‘hugely disappointing’ and that his party ‘need to learn lessons’ in the wake of Galloway’s victory.