Election 24

2024 general election: Rochdale area profile

One of the most interesting seats in the country for the upcoming General Election is Rochdale.

Here, there is a battle between the Workers Party and the Labour Party, with the other major parties also standing.

This is the third time this year that Rochdalians have been sent to the polls – with victories for the Workers’ Party in the previous two elections.

Who is standing?

The sitting MP for Rochdale is George Galloway.

Mr Galloway won the seat earlier this year in the Rochdale by-election.

Mr Galloway sought to focus on the war in Palestine in order to win the seat. In the end, he won the Rochdale seat almost unopposed, as Labour had to drop its candidate due to antisemitism allegations.

Labour’s candidate for the election needed to be an improvement on their effort last time round, which was a total disaster for the party.

Paul Waugh, asenior political journalist who grew up in Rochdale, is their candidate.

Mr Waugh is an ally of Sir Keir Starmer and was chosen centrally by the Labour Party’s NEC to represent Labour.

The leader of the local Liberal Democrats, councillor Andy Kelly, is their candidate having stood in Rochdale previously.

The Conservative candidate is Paul Ellison, the only candidate other than Mr Galloway to have also run in the by-election earlier this year.

The Reform candidate is Michael Howard, not to be mistaken with the former Conservative leader, and the Green candidate is Martyn Savin.

Absent from the election is David Tully, the independent candidate who finished second in the by-election earlier this year.

Key Issues

Due to the large Muslim population in Rochdale, the key issue during the campaign will be Gaza.

This is the bread and butter of the Workers Party – it has been their central issue and they have endlessly attacked the Labour Party for its support of Israel.

Mr Galloway himself will also inevitably be an issue, due to the perception by some that he is divisive and politically opportunist.

Advocacy group Hope Not Hate have already been campaigning against Mr Galloway, something which he hit out against on Twitter.

The cost of living crisis and the state of public services will also be a key issue for voters in Rochdale, which has a high working-class population who have felt the effects of austerity and economic turmoil.

Mr Galloway is attempting to build a sense that he is leading a Rochdale revival after years of national and local negligence from the Tories and Labour respectively.

Labour will attempt to rubbish this and use getting rid of Galloway himself as their main message.

Recent voting history

2005 – Paul Rowen, Liberal Democrats
2010/15 – Simon Danczuk, Labour Party
2017/19 – Tony Lloyd, Labour Party
February 2024 – George Galloway, Workers’ Party of Britain

What is predicted for the area?

Seats such as this with a strong candidate who is an independent or from a small party are more difficult to predict than most seats across the country.

It is simply not possible to project how many votes Mr Galloway would take from Labour in a general election as the way this is done relies on national polling data, which will differ wildly with respect to the Workers Party in Rochdale.

The Electoral Calculus estimate shows that Mr Galloway would win by around 10% over Mr Waugh, but this should be taken with scepticism.

It is certainly the case however that there is a lot of anger at Labour in the area, and it would be a surprising result for Labour if they managed to win – even when taking into account how Rochdale has historically been a Labour safe seat.

When and where can I vote?

Polling day is 4 July and stations will be open from 7am until 10pm – remember to bring valid voter ID!

Find your local polling station here – just enter your postcode.

When will the results be announced?

Results will be announced on 5 July, usually overnight and into the early afternoon.

Mancunian Matters will be covering the general election for the whole of Greater Manchester – and we will be at the count in Rochdale.

To keep up with our election coverage follow us on social media and visit our website for live coverage, articles, interviews, reaction before polling day and thereafter.

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