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The Guardian view on Labour’s problem: Sir Keir Starmer cannot afford to take voters for granted | Editorial

The Guardian view on Labour’s problem: Sir Keir Starmer cannot afford to take voters for granted | Editorial

The Guardian view on Labour’s problem: Sir Keir Starmer cannot afford to take voters for granted | Editorial
Mar 01, 2024 1 min, 1 sec

While local concerns figured in George Galloway’s campaign, it was the geopolitics of the war in Gaza – and the inadequate responses from the main two parties – that helped the former Labour MP win the seat.

Labour rushed this byelection – firing the starting gun before its last MP, Sir Tony Lloyd, was even buried – to stop Mr Galloway, a formidable campaigner, from building up momentum in the seat, where almost a third of voters are Muslim.

Sir Keir Starmer will no doubt shrug off Mr Galloway’s warning that his party “lost the confidence of millions of their voters who loyally and traditionally” voted Labour as hyperbolic.

But Sir Keir’s party can trace its roots back to strikes by Bradford textile workers – across the Pennines from Rochdale – at the turn of the last century.

While France’s president condemns the shooting of Palestinian civilians who “have been targeted by Israeli soldiers” amid chaotic aid deliveries, Britain’s main opposition party leader says nothing.

He refuses to join pleas from progressive politicians in 12 countries for Britain to enforce an arms embargo on Israel as a consequence of the international court of justice’s ruling that Israeli forces must not commit acts of genocide in Gaza.

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