George Galloway understood to be setting up base in West Yorkshire to fight local elections

Defeated Batley & Spen by-election candidate George Galloway is understood to be setting up a base in the area in order to fight next year’s local elections.

George Galloway

Mr Galloway and the Workers Party came third in the polls behind Labour’s Kim Leadbeater and the Conservatives’ Ryan Stephenson.

Ms Leadbeater, who secured a win by just 323 votes, was sworn in on Monday (July 5) as the constituency’s new MP. She now represents the seat once held by her sister, Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2016.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Campaign manager for Mr Galloway, James Giles, said support was growing and that the party was intending to set up groups across the country “from Penzance to the Shetland Islands”.

The Workers Party is also embroiled in a legal tussle over the by-election and is seeking to have the result set aside. Mr Giles said it was hoping to have the case heard in the High Court.

It also launched what it described as an “urgent legal challenge” against Kirklees Council, which removed election posters that breached guidelines as the official “imprint” on them was too small.

Locals who lived through what has been described as a bitter and divisive by-election period say Mr Galloway’s support is actually drifting away.

One said: “It was like a frenzy during the by-election but people are now realising that they’ve been taken for a ride. It’s only after Galloway lost that people came to their senses. A lot are now questioning the whole thing. They’re leaving in droves. Support is dwindling. People feel they made a mistake.”

The Workers Party fought an intense campaign and put up around 2,600 election posters across Batley & Spen. Those materials – along with those of other parties – will have to be removed soon.

A council spokesman said: “The local policy for campaign material provides a seven-day window from the day after the election for removal. The responsibility for removal of lies with the candidate/agent/political party.

“Candidates/agents will be contacted and asked to remove them after seven days.”