The 4 May local election saw the latest in a series of remarkable electoral results for Respect – especially for an organisation that is only two and a half years old fighting a local election campaign for the first time.
Our most spectacular results were in east London. We won 39,600 votes – 23 percent – in Tower Hamlets and took 12 council seats from Labour. In neighbouring Newham we won three seats, 26 percent of the council votes and 20 percent of the mayoral votes.
Respect also made a breakthrough in Birmingham, where Salma Yaqoob was elected in Sparkbrook ward.
But there were also strong results for Respect in many other areas of England. Jerry Hicks in Bristol came second, as did Maxine Bowler in Sheffield and four of our Respect candidates in Preston.
Respect candidates came second to Labour in many other areas, including Southall, Camden and Tottenham in London. We scored third places in the north of Birmingham and Rusholme in Manchester.
These results build on our previous election successes, including electing George Galloway to parliament in Bethnal Green & Bow last year, Oliur Rahman to Tower Hamlets council the year before, and attracting a quarter of a million votes at the 2004 European elections.
We regard these results as a success and we look forward to being the effective opposition to New Labour in Tower Hamlets and Newham, as well as building on our successes elsewhere.
In Tower Hamlets we took a large slice of the Labour vote on the basis of “Vote Respect to get rid of New Labour”.
But Labour took a massive chunk of the Liberal vote on the basis of “Vote Labour to stop Respect”.
If we want to make further gains, we have to stress the labour movement and socialist values at the heart of Respect to appeal to working class voters let down by New Labour.