City turning its back on 106 years of history with George Galloway win

UNTIL last night the seat of Bradford West had been held by Labour for 106 years apart from a short spell when Edward Lyons defected to the SDP in 1981.

However, the seat has previously gone against political trends – it was one of just two in Labour’s 1997 landslide which swung towards the Conservatives.

This was blamed on the fact that Labour put up a Sikh candidate, Marsha Singh, in a seat with a 38 per cent Muslim population.

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Boundary changes had also made the seat a Tory target, although the party has not won it since 1900 when Sir Ernest Flower beat his Labour opponent by just 51 votes.

Bradford has been the centre of racial tensions, with the BNP targeting the white vote in the city, attempting to stir up hatred against the Muslim population.

But the seat also has a large student population because of Bradford University.

And Labour also believes it was hit by local issues this week, including the failure by the Labour council to redevelop a shopping centre for the past eight years.

Labour was described by some voters as the establishment party, and while Mr Galloway picked up anti-Afghanistan war Muslim votes he also picked up unhappy white voters who thought Labour had abandoned them.

Some of the city’s wards are deemed hotspots of youth unemployment.