Ex-England cricketer Monty Panesar quits George Galloway’s party

Former England cricketer Monty Panesar has withdrawn as a candidate for George Galloway’s political party just eight days after announcing he was standing.

Mr Panesar appeared alongside the Workers Party of Britain leader in Westminster in April, arguing for plans including a wealth tax and curbs on foreign ownership of sports teams.

The former cricketer had intended to stand in Labour-held Ealing Southall but said he now needed “more time to listen”.

Posting on X, Mr Panesar said: “So today I am withdrawing as a General Election candidate for The Workers Party.

“I realise I need more time to listen, learn and find my political home, one that aligns with my personal and political values.

“I wish The Workers Party all the best but look forward to taking some time to mature and find my political feet so I am well prepared to deliver my very best when I next run up to the political wicket.”

Mr Panesar appeared to become confused about one of the Workers Party’s policy pledges, to leave the Nato military alliance, during an interview with Times Radio.

He suggested Nato’s role was related to immigration policy and that British membership was making it harder to control its border.

“I think the reason our party is saying it is because we don’t really have control on our borders,” he said.

“We have illegal migration and then what ends up happening is some of these illegal migrants go into the poorer, deprived areas, and then the resources get strained. And it affects, you know, the ordinary people, our working people in this country.

“I think that’s one of the reasons, you know, our party wants to maybe, you know, have a debate about is it really necessary to be in Nato or not.”

Asked what Nato is, Mr Panesar replied: “I don’t have a deep understanding of Nato.”

Mr Galloway said he had 500 candidates already lined up to fight a general election and wanted his party to put pressure on Labour in the same way Nigel Farage was able to target the Conservatives.

Speaking as he announced he was standing for The Workers Party, Mr Panesar told the PA news agency: “When I played for England, there was so much support from the fans and the whole nation when they put me where I am today, it’s my turn now to actually help the working-class people, whatever problems they have.

“The gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger and bigger.”

Mr Panesar also said he did not want to see foreign firms owning football clubs, and wanted fans in charge.

Mr Galloway said he was in talks with three Labour MPs and a peer about defecting.

“Talks were going swimmingly, then not, then back on again,” he told the PA news agency.

“These things take time. I’m hoping to land them, I’m an experienced fisherman, I’m hoping to land them on the riverbank in good time.”

Mr Galloway said his party was “quite confident that in the vast majority of seats in England – except those that we’ve decided not to stand in for political reasons – that we will be on the ballot”.

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