Rochdale by-election 2024: Who are the Workers’ Party of Britain?

The coverage of the Rochdale by-election has inevitably been focused on the personalities and the drama.

In particular, George Galloway has predictably dominated headlines.

The controversial former MP could be set to make his return to parliament following Labour’s implosion over their candidate and the backlash to the party’s stance on Israel and Palestine.

We have published a full explainer of the situation in Rochdale, as well as profiles of Mr Galloway, Reform’s Simon Danczuk and disgraced former Labour candidate Azhar Ali.

However, the Workers’ Party of Britain (WPB), Galloway’s party, has managed to almost entirely avoid scrutiny.

Their ten point programme espouse a broadly socialist message – but their platform is more complex than simply being a left-wing project.

Galloway claims that hundreds of people are joining the party off of the back of the by-election. 

Therefore as the party appears to be growing and could have parliamentary representation, Mancunian Matters had a deeper look at how the party came together and what it stands for.

History of the party

The Workers’ Party was founded in the aftermath of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2019 General Election defeat.

Mr Galloway set up the party as a left-wing alternative to the Labour Party.

He believed Labour had lost its class character, which he said was proven by its pro second-referendum stance, its failure to combat antisemitism “smears” and its “personal sexual-racial identity politics”.

Credit to David Hunt on Creative Commons and davidChief on Flickr

The party had the support in its founding of the Communist Party of Great Britain Marxist-Leninist (CPGB-ML). 

Indeed, CPGB-ML Vice Chair Joti Brar was the WPB’s first Deputy Leader.

The Marxist-Leninist party has a number of questionable long-held positions. 

The party are in favour of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong; it has fraternal relations with the ruling parties of China and North Korea, and it is pro-Russia and pro-Syria.

The CPGB-ML have since severed ties with the WPB, but the Workers’ Party has the support of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition in Rochdale, amongst other left and far-left groups.


The party opposes what it would consider to be imperialism.

Their anti-imperialist stance pits them against the likes of NATO, the IMF, the EU, and other pro-West and pro-capitalist institutions.

They view EU regulations as restrictive especially to Britain taking public ownership of key amenities and transport.

It also goes without saying that they are pro-Palestine, with the issue dominating the Rochdale by-election.

The party also backs communist states, saying they “defend the achievements of the USSR, China, Cuba etc”.

“We shall defend the positive historical legacy of the Soviet Union as well as all those today who struggle for socialism; for an alternative world order.”

Socialist economics

The party describe themselves as “unequivocally committed to class politics.”

Galloway himself said the party was economically radical and their main economic commitment is to redistribute wealth.

In terms of policy, this includes an increase in the personal tax threshold to remove tax entirely from the first £21,200 of wages.

The WPB claim this would increase the take-home pay for a worker by £1,700 per year.

They are committed to a policy of nationalisation based on anything which is a monopoly or vital to the functioning of the country such as public transport, utilities and so on.

However, they stop short of full nationalisation of the economy – opting instead for a ‘considered’ approach.

Social conservatism

As a party they put a focus on their campaign for Gaza and workers rights.

However, their views on social issues are given less of a spotlight.

The party are anti-woke – “for the workers not the wokers”, as Mr Galloway has put it.

The Workers’ Party are against anti-self ID for transgender people, openly stated in this letter from Mr Galloway to constituents in Rochdale:

These views are also expressed in this post about their demonstration:

The party’s migration policy claims to ‘reflect the anxiety felt among the working class about an influx of migrants which appears to be out of control’.

A focus is put on ‘cost of hosting escalating numbers of asylum seekers’.

These views are nowhere to be found in their manifesto or ten point plan, which instead highlight their ‘common-sense socialism’.

Featured Image Credit: Mehek Naseer

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