Tag Archive: George Galloway

A new kind of RESPECT

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Councillors rejoin Galloway’s Party ahead of elections

VOICE: Bradford West MP George Galloway said he was ‘delighted’ to see the four councillors return to the Respect Party last month

VOICE: Bradford West MP George Galloway said he was ‘delighted’ to see the four councillors return to the Respect Party last month

Four Independent Bradford councillors, who resigned from their party in October 2013 due to ‘unresolved issues’ have announced their return as the presence of Respect grows in the city.

Councillors Alyas Karmani (Little Horton), Ishtiaq Ahmed (Manningham), Ruqayyah Collector (City) and Faisal Khan (Bradford Moor) take the total number of Respect party representatives to five in Bradford, depriving Labour of an overall majority on the council.

The councillor’s decision to rejoin the party was officially announced by the group’s leader, Bradford West MP George Galloway, at the end of last month.

In a written statement he said he was delighted to welcome back his ‘comrades’ ahead of the May elections.

ishtiaq ahmed 2 (251x309)“I am delighted to welcome our four comrades back and looking forward to working with them in the future,” Mr Galloway said, adding: “I am confident that this won’t be the last such announcement.”

The four councillors were originally elected to their positions after Mr Galloway’s sweeping 2012 by-election victory which he won with a majority of more than 10,000 votes.

However, in August 2013, the councillors, alongside Cllr Mohammad Shabbir who has opted to remain an Independent, resigned from Respect amidst claims Mr Galloway accused them of ‘attempting to sabotage the party’.

alyas karmani (227x274)Mr Shabbir and Mr Ishtiaq had also been suspended the previous day over alleged criticism of the MP’s supposed plans to stand as London Mayor in 2016.

All four councillors released a joint statement explaining their decision to perform a political u-turn which sees them rejoin the party after more than 18 months as independents.

It read: “After much consideration and reflection over the last few months we are pleased to announce that we will be rejoining the Respect Party in Bradford with immediate effect.

ruqayyah collector (227x275)“In October 2013 we resigned from Respect due to unresolved issues within the party, these were mainly administrative and operational issues and we had since remained as Independents in Bradford Council.

“In essence these fundamental issues have now been resolved through intense dialogue initiated by Respect officials and a clear strategy has been formulated to move the party forward, taking this into consideration we feel it is the appropriate move for Bradford and our respective ward members, regrettably other mainstream political parties have failed yet again to demonstrate that they actually represent the best interests of the ordinary working class, and this is clearly demonstrated by the dire education situation in Bradford which they have failed to recognise and tackle.

Respect Party Faisal Khan.“It is our intention to continue working for people from all backgrounds to help drive a broad set of policies focussed on things that matter to people – the local economy, education, health, quality of life and robust long-range planning.

“Needless to say we will remain committed to the electorate and will continue to advocate for the citizens of Bradford, and work hard for the interests of our constituents and we will continue to represent them in Council on the issues that affect them in the District just as we have done over the last three years since being elected.”

In total, five councillors are now representing Respect on Bradford’s council with Asama Javed, who defected from Labour to join the party last month, the other addition.

 

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Labour select Shah

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Bradfordian to stand in general elections

LABOUR: Naz Shah says she residents in Bradford West feel a ‘deep sense of betrayal’ from current MP George Galloway

LABOUR: Naz Shah says she residents in Bradford West feel a ‘deep sense of betrayal’ from current MP George Galloway

Following the resignation of Bradford West’s Labour candidate just four days into her role, the political party has selected Naz Shah, to stand against George Galloway in the general elections.

Mrs Shah, born and raised in Bradford, said it was a ‘proud’ moment to have been chosen and says unlike her predecessor, she knows the ‘struggles’ being faced by the city’s families.

As well as being chair of mental health charity, Sharing Voices, she is also a campaigner for women’s rights and helped organise the ‘Drive for Palestine’ rally last year.

The mother-of-three is also known locally for campaigning in support of her mother, Zoora Shah, who in 1993 was jailed for poisoning her husband, Mohammed Azam, after she suffered years of domestic abuse.

Upon being selected as a candidate, Mrs Shah said: “I’m proud to have been chosen as the Labour party’s candidate for the seat in which I was born and am proud to call home.

“I am someone with a track record of campaigning and working for grass roots change and promise that if elected I will be a visible presence for Bradford West constituents and a stark alternative to divisive figure George Galloway.

RESPECT: In response to Mrs Shah’s selection, Galloway tweeted his belief that the Labour candidate ‘won’t last much longer’ than Amina Ali’s four-day reign

RESPECT: In response to Mrs Shah’s selection, Galloway tweeted his belief that the Labour candidate ‘won’t last much longer’ than Amina Ali’s four-day reign

“As is well documented I have faced big challenges in my life - I know the struggles being faced by families across Bradford West because they are struggles I have had to experience myself too.”

She added: “In the by-election in 2012 people here were sold a fake vision by a man who now admits he is more interested in winning elections than actually representing his constituents.

“I know much of the anger that people felt about mainstream parties in Bradford then still exists now, but so does a deep sense of betrayal among residents here – particularly women and young people – that Galloway led them to the top of the mountain then deserted them.”

Tower Hamlets councillor, Amina Ali, stood down from her position as Labour’s candidate last week citing family reasons.

In response to Mrs Shah’s selection, current Respect MP for Bradford West, Mr Galloway, tweeted: “I'm not sure my current New Labour opponent is going to last much longer in the contest than her predecessor. Watch this space...”

The general elections will take place this year on 7th May.

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Labour candidate steps down after 72 hours

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Bradford West prospective MP pulls out of race

WITHDRAWN: Amina Ali was selected from a final shortlist of three candidates to represent Labour in Bradford West but withdrew from the race due to family commitments

WITHDRAWN: Amina Ali was selected from a final shortlist of three candidates to represent Labour in Bradford West but withdrew from the race due to family commitments

The contest to hold the parliamentary seat in Bradford West took a bizarre twist last week as Labour’s newly selected candidate announced her decision to step down, four days after being chosen.

Amina Ali, a councillor currently in Tower Hamlets, London, made the announcement via Twitter on Wednesday 26th February tweeting: “I would like to stop the rumour mill, I have stepped down.”

Despite quickly deleting the message, the would-be prospective Labour candidate released an official statement to confirm the news, stating the disruption to her family life would be too great.

She added: “However, I am the mother of two children and despite my best efforts to make arrangements to bring them to Bradford for the next 70 days, particularly as one of them is doing her GCSEs, this would have caused massive disruption at a critical time.

“I would not be able to do justice to the members of Bradford West CLP and the people of Bradford.

“Bradford West needs a candidate who is going to live in Bradford and be involved in the campaign for every moment of every day and I am unable to fulfil this commitment despite a strong wish to support the Labour Party to victory.”

With the news of Mrs Ali’s withdrawal it once again leaves Respect MP George Galloway, as the frontrunner for the seat.

REPRESENTATIVE: Respect MP, George Galloway, labelled the Labour party as ‘in shambles’

REPRESENTATIVE: Respect MP, George Galloway, labelled the Labour party as ‘in shambles’

Mr Galloway initially took up the position after a landslide victory in a by-election in 2012 and says the withdrawal of Labour’s selection was due to a ‘war inside [the] Bradford West Labour Party’.

He said: “New Labour in Bradford is in shambles. Well, no change there. This is playing like an out-take from ‘The thick of it’. Omnishambles doesn't begin to do it justice.

“She resigned in a tweet on Tuesday night and then took it down, presumably after the party bigwigs started trying to woo her back.

“And on Wednesday she says it's all about her kids. Perhaps she looked at Bradford schools' results and decided she couldn't do that to them? Didn't she think it through before she put her name forward?

“Of course she did and no-one's going to be taken in by that. Not even Malcolm Tucker could spin it successfully. The real reason is the war inside Bradford West Labour Party and she's retreated from it, badly wounded.”

 

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A Sweet Success Story

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For the past five decades, Manningham’s Sweet Centre restaurant has been providing sweet treats and Asian dishes to the residents of Bradford and beyond.

Last week, on Friday 12th December, a special plaque unveiling ceremony took place at the renowned site with special guest, Hazrat Shaykh Sahibzada Muhammad Habib-Ur-Rehman Sahib Mahmoobi on hand to mark the official 50th year anniversary.

The Sweet Centre has been passed through three generations of the same family since the doors first opened in 1964 and current owner, Dr Zulficar Ali, said it felt ‘great’ to reach such a milestone.

lord mayor and dr ali sweet centre_2

“The Sweet Centre has been supported by people of all faiths, all backgrounds and all political parties since it first opened its doors,” Dr Ali said.

“To now be able to celebrate our 50th anniversary, with all the family and guests, it is a great achievement.”

The business was initially set up by brothers, Abdul Rehman and Mohammed Bashir, as they brought the concept of an Asian sweet centre and cafe to 110 Lumb Lane.

Pulling together whatever money they had, even selling their own possessions, the sibling’s company excelled in the area and today, the same traditional dishes that made the restaurant so popular in the 60’s, continue to be served fresh out of the kitchen.

 

sweet centre galloway_2

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Galloway ‘fears going out alone’ after attack

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VICTIM: George Galloway was assaulted in London earlier this year whilst posing for a picture

VICTIM: George Galloway was assaulted in London earlier this year whilst posing for a picture

Bruised politician praises sentencing but questions why ‘religiously aggravated assault charge’ was dropped.

A drug addict, who assaulted Bradford MP George Galloway in a politically-aggravated attack in London earlier this year, was sentenced to 16 months in prison last week.

39-year-old Neil Masterson, kicked and punched the Respect MP for Bradford West as he posed for pictures in Notting Hill in August, leaving Mr Galloway in need of hospital treatment for cuts and bruises to his head and ribs.

The 60-year-old former Labour MP speaking in court, said he believed he would have been killed should Masterson have been armed with a knife, and his family are now in a ‘constant state of worry’ whenever he goes anywhere alone.

In a victim impact statement read in court, Mr Galloway said he was still suffering pain from his injuries adding:  “I now need to have someone with me while working.”

Masterson, of Kensington, had previously admitted assaulting Mr Galloway and a second charge of common assault against a man who had been posing for a picture with the Respect party representative.

Upon his arrest, the 39-year-old, who was wearing a pink shirt with the Israeli Defence logo on, said he felt ‘morally justified’, labelling the victim a ‘Nazi’ with a shameful attitude toward Jews.

Judge Aidan Marron QC, told the attacker: “While you are no longer facing a charge of religiously aggravated assault, it would be unreal to ignore that the motivation for this...was your profound hostility to Mr Galloway’s views.”

He added that Masterson’s ‘loathing’ of Mr Galloway was manifested by what he did at the start of the assault and said afterwards in interviews.

In reply to this sentiment, Mr Galloway also questioned why the charge of ‘religiously aggravated assault’ was dropped and if the ‘shoe was on the other foot’ would it be a different matter.

“If an Asian man wearing a Palestinian T-shirt had attacked a pro-Israeli MP would the sentence have been the same?” he said.

Mr Galloway was attacked on Friday 29th August by Masterson with the latter mentioning the holocaust and calling the victim an ‘anti-Semitic little man’. His actions came just days after the politician had labelled his home city of Bradford an ‘Israeli free zone’ amidst the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

Masterson was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Thursday 11th December.

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Lack of condemnation following MP’s street attack in London

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George Galloway

George Galloway's street attack in London


A spokesperson for George Galloway says he is ‘disappointed’ at the lack of support shown to the Bradford MP following an attack last week, adding that if it were a Muslim who perpetrated the assault, it would have got ‘far, far more coverage’.

Mr Galloway, who is Bradford East MP, was taken to hospital last weekend after suffering severe bruising to his head and ribs following an attack in London. The controversial politician had been posing for pictures on Golborne Road, Notting Hill, when he was targeted by a man who proceeded to assault the Respect party member. News of the attack was immediately circulated following a picture of an injured Mr Galloway being uploaded to social media. However, Ron McKay, spokesperson for the local MP, says he was disappointed with the ‘lack of support’ shown to Mr Galloway following the incident, adding it would have been a much different reaction should the circumstances have been different.

Speaking to the Asian Express he said: “I think if it had been the other way around, with a pro-Israel supporter being attacked by a Muslim, then there would have been far, far more publicity. “There would have been more reaction from senior parliamentary figures and even the Prime Minister.” It was reported that Mr Galloway had suffered serious injuries and Mr McKay confirmed that he was now recuperating yet still working. “He is recovering at the moment and suffered severe bruising to the head, body, ribs etc. and he is still very tender,” he added. “He was in the House today and is set to travel to Scotland soon.”

Following the attack, a 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the scene and remained in custody. The attack is believed to have been related to Mr Galloway’s recent comments in regard to Israel as the assailant ‘shouted’ about the holocaust as he approached the scene. Last month, the politicians declared Bradford an ‘Israelifree zone’ as the conflict between Israel and Gaza continued to press ahead - comments which saw the MP investigated by police. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “The victim of the assault was taken to a central London hospital for treatment to his injuries. He was discharged from hospital this morning, Saturday 30th August.”

“He is recovering at the moment and suffered severe bruising to the head, body, ribs etc. and he is still very tender.”

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