George Galloway absent as Paul Waugh announced as Rochdale’s new MP

Date published: 05 July 2024

George Galloway’s brief tenure as Rochdale’s MP ended suddenly today (Friday 5 July) as Labour’s candidate Paul Waugh won the seat by 1,440 votes.

He was surpassed by Rochdale-born Paul Waugh, who won with 13,027 votes over 11,587. The win was met with enthusiastic cheers from Waugh's supporters.

However, this majority was significantly lower than the nearly 15,000 vote margins Labour had previously achieved in Rochdale. 

Rochdale’s constituency is now one ward smaller, as boundary changes meant that Spotland & Falinge has moved into the renamed Heywood & Middleton North constituency. With the boundary changes counted, the turnout for Rochdale was 55%.

This is higher than the 37.9% turnout for the by-election in February, when George Galloway of the Workers Party won the seat as Rochdale’s MP.

Paul Waugh after the result was announced
Paul Waugh after the result was announced

Galloway was notably absent from the election count in Rochdale, and members of his team were asked to stop shouting over the speech of new Labour MP Paul Waugh as he addressed the crowd.

He said: “On what is an historic night for Britain, I’m so proud that Rochdale is part of the nation's wave of change. As for the rest of the country, I know that lots of you here have voted Labour for the very first time, I’ll do everything I can to repay the trust every Labour voter has now placed in me.

“Those who didn’t vote for me, I’ll work tirelessly on your behalf too, to deliver the real and lasting change that we will need, because it’s now my job to speak up in Westminster for all of Rochdale.”

He added: “The people of Rochdale are sick of our area being the bad news story on the TV. Tonight, we’ve produced a good news story, one we all needed. A Labour MP, and a Labour government for the first time in a generation.

“It’s my job now to get Rochdale the regeneration and respect its people deserve. Finally, I’d like to thank my wife, our three sons, my brother and mum, and my whole family inside Rochdale and outside it for their constant support.

“On a night where I’m humbled by the support of my fellow Rochdalians, I’m humbled too by my family's love.”


Paul Waugh with his wife and two of his sons after the election result
Paul Waugh with his wife and two of his sons after the election result


The Rochdale Liberal Democrats came away with 2,816 votes. Leader Andy Kelly joined Paul Waugh on the stage for his speech. He said:

“Overall nationally I’m delighted for the Lib Dem result, over 60 MPs means to return to where we were 15 years ago.

“Locally I think this election was always between Galloway and Labour, as the results are reflecting. 

“I’m always a little bit concerned to see Reformed doing so well, but you can only really put that down to a protest vote.”

After his defeat, George Galloway posted on social media: “I thank the people of Rochdale who gave me 54 sitting days in the last parliament as their MP.

"Big thanks to my agent, my campaign team and the thousands who voted for me today. We took the government party to within 1,500 votes and serve notice on Labour that we are here to stay in Rochdale.

“We will field a full slate of council candidates, establish a full-time office there, campaign to re-open the Maternity Ward and A&E, and keep up the pressure on Labour in the town.”

After Paul Waugh and George Galloway, Reform UK's Michael Howard came third, with 6,773 votes.

Meanwhile, Elsie Blundell was elected as the new MP for Heywood & Middleton North.

See more election results here:

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