The flamboyant leader of the British Respect Party conceded his overwhelming defeat in Bradford to a Labour Party up-and-comer on Thursday, handing off the celebration to the “racists and the Zionists.”
Donning a black fedora and speaking in a somber tone, the former MP and Respect Party mainstay George Galloway addressed a small crowd of supporters and journalists after election results in Bradford West showed Labour’s Naseem Shah led with 50% of votes to Galloway’s 21%.
“There will be others who are already celebrating,” he lamented. “The venal and the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating. The hyena can dance on the lion’s grave, but it can never be a lion.”
Galloway, who was expelled from Labour in 2003 before becoming an MP for Respect first in 2005, is best known outside of England for his harsh anti-Israel views, sympathizing with various Middle Eastern dictators, recently declaring Bradford an “Israel-free zone,” and for his strident opposition to the war in Iraq.
Though he was soundly defeated by Labour newcomer Naseem Shah, whose party itself suffered resounding defeat in Thursday’s elections, the Respect Party leader vowed to remain in politics.
“I’m not in my grave,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I’m going off now to plan my next campaign.”
In addition to Galloway’s electoral ouster, another staunch Israel critic, the Liberal Democrats’ David Ward, lost his office in Bradford East to Labour’s Imran Hussain. Ward had been furloughed from the Liberal Democrats after questioning Israel’s right to exist.