In this election year is the world’s cradle of democracy under threat?

What does the result of the Rochdale by-election mean for our country and the world?

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2024

Threats and the scandal of mass postal voting – its impact on our government and society

On Thursday (29 Feb 2024) the voters of Rochdale delivered their verdict at the ballot box and by postal vote. A by-election took place in this constituency following the death of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd. The winner was George Galloway of the Workers Party of Britain.

However, amongst death threats, racist abuse, and mass postal voting some serious questions are being asked about the state of democracy in its cradle in the United Kingdom.

These questions impact countries around the world, who are all suffering from similar problems, including the United States and countries as far away as Australia. Facts4EU asks if the newly-independent United Kingdom should pick up the banner and lead the way with some serious reforms.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

The results of the Rochdale by-election, Thurs 29 Feb 2024

  • Workers Party : George Galloway : 12,335 ( 39.7% )
  • Independent : David Tully : 6,638 ( 21.3% )
  • Conservative : Paul Ellison : 3,731 ( 12.0% )
  • Labour (but disavowed) : Azhar Ali : 2,402 ( 7.7% )
  • Liberal Democrats : Iain Donaldson : 2,164 ( 7.0% )
  • Reform UK : Simon Danczuk : 1,968 ( 6.3% )
  • Independent : William Howarth : 523 ( 1.7% )
  • Independent : Mark Coleman : 455 ( 1.5% )
  • Green[b] : Guy Otten : 436 ( 1.4% )
  • Independent : Michael Howarth : 246 ( 0.8% )
  • Monster Raving Loony : Ravin Rodent Subortna : 209 ( 0.7% )
  • Majority : 5,697 ( 18.4% )
  • Physical Turnout : 17,647
  • Postal votes : 13,460
  • Total No. of Votes Cast : 31,107

[Source: Electoral Commission | Rochdale Borough Council.]

This was not a normal by-election

The Labour candidate for Rochdale would normally have been expected to win this this seat comfortably. The reason this did not happen is because Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, disavowed his candidate, Azhar Ali, after his anti-Semitic remarks which came to light during the campaign.

This allowed the maverick George Galloway, a far-left, anti-Israel extremist who has previously held forth on Putin’s ‘Russia Today’ TV channel with his own programme, a clear run.

The total number of votes cast was only 31,107, so there are no lessons for the country at large. Mr Galloway’s own vote (12,335) would not have been enough for him to get elected in an average constituency.

Mr Galloway is Leader of the 'Workers Party of Britain'. It is thought that his anti-Israel views will have helped him to attract a large part of the very significant Muslim vote in Rochdale. In his party's manifesto is the following : "we make no apology for our support for Palestine and the people of Gaza during the current brutal onslaught which has been enabled by Labour and Tories alike." The party's extreme views also include withdrawing the United Kingdom from NATO.

The scandal of postal voting

Rochdale Borough Council reports that of the total number of votes (31,107), 43.3% (13,460) of these were postal votes. There were more postal votes than votes for George Galloway.

This represents an astonishing 27.3% increase in postal voting since the 2019 general election.

Reform UK leader Richard Tice made a very strong statement :

“Now the polls have closed, people across the UK need to know the truth about this election campaign - and the implications for our democracy.

“To suggest that a parliamentary election in this country has not been truly free and fair is a very serious allegation indeed.

“Unfortunately however, the behaviour of certain candidates and their supporters in this contest fell very far short of this our traditional democratic standards. What we have witnessed and experienced in Rochdale is deeply disturbing.

“In recent weeks, Reform UK’s candidate and campaign team has:

  • been subjected to death threats
  • suffered vile racist abuse
  • been refused entry to hustings in a public building
  • had to be relocated for their own safety
  • suffered daily intimidation and slurs

“In one incident, Reform UK business supporters were threatened with a firebomb attack if they distributed our leaflets. Menacing behaviour was a feature of the entire campaign, including outside polling stations on the day of the election itself. In this ugliest of contests, we are also concerned by the sudden increase in the size of the postal vote.

“The results of the Rochdale by-election should act as a stark wake up call to those in power – and the entire electorate. This is Britain. We are supposed to be a beacon of democracy. This shameful contest has been more characteristic of a failed state.

“Unless something dramatic changes, our fear is that it will be repeated in dozens of constituencies across the UK at the general election. By Christmas, we face the prospect of numerous extremist anti-Semitic lawmakers in the House of Commons.”

These are serious allegations. It remains to be seen whether the Government will take action ahead of the general election.


We are reaching a tipping point in British politics. Many of us felt this was coming during the dark days of Theresa May’s premiership when the democratic decision of the British people to leave the European Union was under threat from anti-democratic MPs.

Now we have a by-election where a candidate was subject to death threats and was not even allowed by local officials to attend hustings where the public could question him.

It is clear to us that the Government must legislate immediately to uphold democracy. In particular we believe that postal votes should only be allowed from military personnel serving overseas and from those who have a serious medical condition with proof from their doctor.

As to the winner of this by-election we can only remind readers of Mr Galloway's cringe-making appearance on Celebrity Big Brother. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now.

Facts4EU.Org needs you today

We are a 'not for profit' team (we make a loss) and any payment goes towards the actual work, not plush London offices, lunch or taxi expenses, or other luxuries of some organisations.

We badly need more of our thousands of readers to become members, to support this work. Could this be you, today? It's quick and easy, we give you a choice of two highly secure payment providers, and we do NOT ask you for further support if you pay once. We just hope you keep supporting us. Your membership stays anonymous unless you tell us otherwise.

Please don't assume that other people will keep us going - we don't receive enough to survive and we need your help today. Could you help us? We rely 100% on public contributions from readers like you.

If you believe in a fully-free, independent, and sovereign United Kingdom, please join now by clicking on one of the links below or you can use our Support page here. You will receive a personal, friendly ‘thank you’ from a member of our team within 48 hours. Thank you.

[ Sources: Rochdale Borough Council | Electoral Commission | Richard Tice ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 02 Mar 2024

Click here to go to our news headlines

Please scroll down to COMMENT on the above article.
And don't forget actually to post your message after you have previewed it!

Share this article on

Something to say about this? Scroll down for reader comments

Since before the EU Referendum, Brexit Facts4EU.Org
has been the most prolific researcher and publisher of Brexit facts in the world.

Supported by MPs, MEPs, & other groups, our work has impact.

We think facts matter. Please donate today, so that we can continue to ensure a clean Brexit is finally delivered.

Any credit card user

Quick One-off


From £5 - £1,000



From £3 per month

Paypal Users Only - Choose amount first

Quick One-off