Respect has won five council seats in Bradford, unseating the Labour leader of the council. The gains follow George Galloway’s shock victory in the recent Bradford West parliamentary by-election.
Galloway welcomed the wins saying it had been a “fantastic night” for Respect. The party had taken seats from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories, he noted.
Respect’s Alyas Karmani narrowly defeated Labour’s Ian Greenwood in Little Horton ward. Greenwood had been Bradford’s council leader since 2010 earning £50,000 a year.
Former student activist Ruqayyah Collector won for Respect in City ward which has a large student population. She pulled in 2570 votes—more than half of the ward's turnout.
“It’s an amazing victory and a great victory for the left,” Ruqayyah told Socialist Worker. “It sends a signal to the mainstream parties that where there’s an alternative, people will vote for it.”
Her campaign focused on youth provision, unemployment and education in Bradford, she added. “People in Bradford are crying out for change. This is something we hope to build on in the future.”
The other Respect wins were Faisal Khan in Bradford Moor, Shabbir Mohammad in Heaton and Ishtiaq Ahmed in Manningham.
But Bradford voters rejected the option of an elected mayor for the city by 55 percent. The mainstream parties opposed the proposed change while Respect supported it.
Respect came second in a council by-election in Tower Hamlets, east London. Abjol Miah won 1,280 votes in Weavers ward but failed to dislodge Labour, whose candidate John Pierce won with 1544 votes.