Rochdale By-Election: Labour drift as Galloway targets another upset

  • Max Liu
  • 3:00 min read
The Labour candidate Azhar Ali with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham
Will Azhar Ali's chances be boosted by the likes of Andy Burnham?

Labour should win the Rochdale by-election on 29 February but they are drifting on the Betfair Exchange in the face of an opportunistic challenge from George Galloway's Workers Party of Britain...

  • Labour drift as Galloway aims to disrupt by-election

  • Labour still odds-on but wary of challenge

  • By-election takes place on 29 February

  • Labour's Rochdale by-election odds drifted on the Betfair Exchange as George Galloway's campaign to win the Greater Manchester constituency on 29 February gathered momentum.

    Galloway is a former-Labour MP who quit the party before becoming MP for Bethnal Green and Bow (2005-10) and Bradford West (2012-15), in both cases beating Labour candidates.

    Those dates show that he did not serve more than one term in either constituency, so voters in Rochdale may wonder whether he has their best interests at heart.

    He is standing for the Workers Party of Britain, using his campaign to criticise Labour's failure to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, and is 3.259/4 to win.

    The Labour candidate, Azhar Ali, does support a ceasefire but Galloway is trying to exploit opposition to Labour leader Keir Starmer's position on the matter.

    Labour odds-on but Galloway has momentum

    Labour should still win but their drift out to 1.422/5 from 1.091/11 last week indicates that this could be a trickier by-election for them than anticipated. They are defending a majority of nearly 10,000.

    Galloway's momentum may be shortlived. He has been around for a long time and people may be wise to his tactics. He is trying to pull off an old trick and Labour will hope voters give him short shrift.

    Then again, if voters agree with Galloway's position they may be prepared to vote for him in the by-election before returning to vote for Labour in the general election that is 1.321/3 to happen somewhere in the period October to December this year.

    The Labour candidate Ali had to apologise for his own comments about Israel on Monday. This is another complicating factor in the by-election and exactly the kind of thing Starmer does not want.

    Starmer is 1.21/5 to be Britain's next prime minister but, even though his party are 1.232/9 to win a majority at the next general election, Labour can take nothing for granted.

    The Tories are 65.064/1 to win in Rochdale but they will be watching the Labour versus Galloway battle with interest and wondering if they can exploit such divisions nationally.

    First, though, the Conservatives look set to lose two seats in this week's by-elections in Wellingborough and Kingswood. Labour are odds-on in both markets.

    Now Read Wellingborough By-Election Odds: Could Reform breakthrough destabilise Rishi Sunak?

New customers can get £20 in free bets!

New customers can earn £20 in free bets when they place a £5 bet on the Sportsbook after signing up. T&Cs apply.

Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.

Discover the latest articles