Lib Dems, Middleton Independents and David Tully deny association with George Galloway following controversial statement

Date published: 09 April 2024

The Liberal Democrats and the Middleton Independents have declared they do not want to be associated with George Galloway despite a Worker’s party press release endorsing some of their candidates.

The Workers Party issued a press release on Sunday 7 April endorsing four Middleton Independent and two Lib Dem candidates as well as their own 13 candidates for the local elections. The release also stated that “David Tully is backing our outstanding Workers Party candidate in Healey ward, Amr Nazir”, something Mr Tully has refuted.

The man who came second in the Rochdale by-election stated that he has known Amr Nazir, the Workers Party candidate he proposed as a candidate, for a long time. But he said he proposed him because of their personal relationship, rather than as any sort of endorsement.

Mr Tully told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I have no allegiance to them (the Workers Party). I signed as Amr’s proposer because I have known him for many years.

“George Galloway has been in contact and apologised for using my name in the release. I am not involved with them at all.

“I feel let down by this. They have manipulated the situation. I am not in any alliance with them.”

Similar rebuttals have come from Lib Dem group leader Councillor Andy Kelly. He said: “We have not entered into any sort of alliance with the Workers Party.

“Of course they (the two Lib Dem council candidates endorsed by the Workers Party) have not entered into an alliance. I have never even talked to anyone from Galloway’s camp.”

The Lib Dems’ Smallbridge and Firgrove candidate Zulifiqar Ali and Spotland and Falinge candidate Rabina Asghar were both endorsed by the Workers Party in the release. This comes after Farooq Ahmed defected from the Lib Dems to the Workers Party.

Bernard Wynne, Caitlin O’Mara, Keeley O’Mara and Lee Wolf are all Middleton Independent candidates endorsed by the Workers Party – something the group is wanting to shake off. Councillor Paul Beswick, the Middleton Independent Party’s East Middleton representative said they did not want the help or support of the Workers Party.

Councillor Beswick said: “We don’t want anything to do with George Galloway. We do not need their endorsement.”

The controversial release included a quote from George Galloway, leader of the Workers Party, it read: “We have amassed a top team of candidates who stand ready to take the fight to Labour.

“For too long, they have run roughshod over the town, ignoring residents because they felt they could. On May 2nd, we wipe the face of the town hall clock clean.

“With respect to our candidates in the Grand Alliance, I’m delighted to announce that William Howarth of Parents Against Grooming UK, and one of my former election rivals, has joined the Workers Party and will stand for us in Balderstone and Kirkholt.”

“David Tully is backing our outstanding Workers Party candidate in Healey ward, Amr Nazir, and in fact was one of his proposers on the nomination forms submitted to the council.

“In Central Rochdale, Farooq Ahmed has left the Liberal Democrats – even after being validly nominated by them to stand in the ward – and will be standing on our ticket. A former councillor and hardworking campaigner, he is odds on to take the seat.

“My ‘Grand Alliance’ is also backing a number of non-Workers Party candidates in this election, who individually have demonstrated that they are outstanding workers in their wards and have the best chance of ousting Labour councillors in May.

“In Smallbridge and Firgrove, Zulfikar Ali has my personal endorsement, and in Spotland and Falinge I am backing Rabina Asghar who has grown her vote share from 7 per cent to 38 per cent over the last three elections. She is now on the verge of toppling Labour. An erudite campaigner who has the full support of my Grand Alliance.

“Finally in Middleton, we are endorsing the Middleton Independents candidates. In their own words, they are ‘tired of the ‘jam tomorrow’ promises at every election from local Labour.

“They have a track record in Middleton of winning seats from Labour and we wish them well in doing so again this May.

“Together we will sweep away this incompetent and arrogant Council, and put residents back at the heart of decision making.”

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

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