George Galloway has thrown his hat into the ring to be elected MP for Manchester Gorton at the upcoming by-election.
The former Respect Party leader announced on Tuesday morning he would seek to succeed Sir Gerald Kaufman in the seat.
Galloway said Labour’s “all-Asian short-list” for the seat was “the latest in a long line of insults delivered by mainstream parties to local communities”.
Last night, Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee narrowed its choice down to Afzal Khan, Luthfur Rahman, Amina Lone, Yasmin Dar and Nasrin Ali. Its candidate will be picked tomorrow.
Writing for Westmonster, Galloway said his national profile would give Gorton a “big voice”.
“Whether it’s my speeches in Parliament or on the streets, my films, my TV shows, my radio shows, my work on social media where I have over a million followers, when I’m fighting for Gorton everyone will know about it. Everyone will have to listen,” he said.
“I have been six times elected to Parliament and I don’t think even my worst enemy would deny my impact there.”
Some in Labour had felt that Galloway would not run if the party chose an Asian candidate for Gorton.
The Huffington Post UK learned last week that Galloway has rented an office for eight weeks in Albert Road in Levenshulme in the constituency. A source close to Galloway told HuffPost that they didn’t know anything about an office but stressed his Tony Blair documentary bus was in the constituency. “His decision whether to stand or not is absolutely not connected to the Labour choice. That was a false rumour being spread around by Asian candidates.”
Labour has a 24,079 majority in Manchester Gorton. The Lib Dems are seen as the main challengers in the seat and will hope Galloway’s entrance into the race could help split the Labour vote.
Galloway, who was expelled from Labour in 2003, said the fact he was not local to Manchester should not matter to voters.
“It’s true I’m not local but then neither was Sir Matt Busby. Neither was Sir Alex Ferguson nor Pep Guardiola nor Jose Mourinho,” he said.
The by-election has been triggered by the death last month of Sir Gerald. The veteran parliamentarian who had been an MP since 1970.