George Galloway makes Commons return after Rochdale by-election victory

George Galloway said he wants to “make Rochdale great again” after taking his seat in the House of Commons following his by-election victory in the seat.

The Workers Party of Britain MP also hit out again Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer on Monday, saying it was not for the “unelected Prime Minister” to pick who represents the constituency.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament after his swearing-in, he talked up plans to stand Workers Party candidates in seats more widely at the next general election, including in deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner’s.

Mr Galloway also attacked Mr Sunak after the PM said his victory in Rochdale was “beyond alarming”, saying it was “not for the unelected Prime Minister” to pick who represents the constituency in Parliament.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Galloway pledged allegiance to the King as part of the swearing-in ceremony all MPs are required to do.

He was accompanied by Alba Party MP Neale Hanvey and Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley, the Father of the House, as his sponsors.

Mr Galloway said former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who sits as an Independent, was supposed to be his sponsor but that “he’d forgotten that he had a long-standing engagement”.

It is Commons procedure for a newly elected MP to be accompanied by two other MPs in the Chamber during the ceremony, but Mr Galloway said: “I don’t need to have two friends to walk me in.”

Mr Galloway said that Britain stands “at a very dangerous crossroads” which is “perhaps as dangerous as any since the summer and autumn of 1940-41, and there’s no Mr Churchill in this picture” to “unite our people”.

He added that the next election would be “about Muslims” and “about the taking away of civil liberties in this country”.

“It’s Sunak’s last hope,” he said.

The former Labour and Respect member swept to victory in Rochdale last week, gaining almost 40% of the vote in a contest mired in chaos and controversy and dominated by the Gaza war, which he described as a “genocide”.

Palestine has been a major theme of Mr Galloway’s political career, throughout which he has voiced ferocious opposition to British and US foreign policies, both in the Middle East and, more recently, in their support for Ukraine.

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