Rochdale by-election: George Galloway wins seat and independent David Tully is second with over 6,600 votes

Date published: 01 March 2024

Former Labour MP George Galloway has won the Rochdale by-election, with local man David Tully, who stood as an independent coming second.

Galloway took the seat with 12,335 votes (39.7%) and declared in his victory speech that "this is for Gaza".

He had 5,697 more votes than local man David Tully who received 6,638 votes (21.3%) and finished second, beating the Conservative candidate Paul Ellison; the absent former Labour candidate Azhar Ali and the Liberal Democrat candidate Iain Donaldson.

The Reform candidate, former MP Simon Danczuk finished in sixth place, with just 1,968 votes.

The turnout for the by-election was 39.7%, compared to 60.3% at the general election in 2019 and 64.2% in 2017.

Taking to the stage after the results were announced, George Galloway opened his speech saying: “Keir Starmer - this is for Gaza. You have paid and you will pay a high price for the role that you have played in enabling , encouraging and covering for the catastrophe currently going on in occupied Palestine in the Gaza Strip.”

As he moved on to his next point, he was interrupted by Jane Touil, the agent for independent candidate Mark Coleman calling him a 'climate change denier’. She also threw orange confetti over Galloway supporters in the crowd and Mr Coleman threw orange confetti on the stage.


George Galloway making a speech after his win was announced
George Galloway made a speech after his win was announced


Once the distruption was over, Galloway went on to say: “I want to put the [Rochdale] town councillors on notice that we intend to clean the town hall. The councillors have to go and I intend to try to put together a ‘grand alliance’ that will change Rochdale for the better, just twelve weeks from now at the local elections.”

He thanked God for his victory along with his wife, his children and grand children, his agent and campaign manager and all of his campaign team for their work.

He said: “I thank the people of Rochdale who voted for me in such numbers, I promise to work faithfully for all Rochdalians and to work for the day where you can again be born in Rochdale.

“I want to tell Mr Starmer that the plates have shifted tonight… this is going to spark a movement, a landslide, a shifting of the tectonic plates. In scores of parliamentary constituencies beginning here in the north west, in the West Midlands and London, Labour is on notice that they have lost the confidence of millions of their voters who loyally and traditionally voted for them, generation after generation.

“Every Muslim is bitterly angry at Keir Starmer and his Labour party but you would be very foolish if you did not realise that millions of other citizens of our country are too. Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are two cheeks of the same backside and they both got well and truly spanked tonight.”

He congratulated David Tully on his achievement on coming second in the by-election, and claimed that this is the ‘first time ever in British political history that the two big parties of the state were thoroughly and soundly beaten’.

He finished his speech by saying: “This town has been badly let down, once one of the most prosperous towns in England, now, one of the poorest, whose heart has been piece by piece removed; the maternity, the A&E. I understand that you cant even be locked up in Rochdale – there’s not even a jail cell to toss a miscreant in.

“The biggest new threat that we face is the possibility of the extinction of the proud Rochdale Football Club and I pledge that I will work tirelessly, I hope with the town council, as changed in 12 weeks time, to save the Dale.”


David Tully being interviewed after the result was announced
David Tully being interviewed after the result was announced


After his shock result David Tully told us: "I am a bit overwhelmed and I’m really thankful that Rochdale came out and voted for me.

"I’m proud of my town and that’s why I stood up to be counted because I want to look after my town. I’ve been here all my life and I intend to stay here."


Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online