About the Respect Party
The Respect Party was set up in January 2004. It was formed because of the need for a left-wing alternative to the three established parties – New Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats.
None of those parties represent the interests of ordinary working-class people or those who want a fairer, more equal and just society.
When millions marched against the invasion of Iraq, the government ignored us.
When workers and communities take strike action or protest against privatisation, job losses and cuts to our services, they are criticised by the New Labour government and the other parties.
The Respect Party is opposed to war, privatisation and unemployment.
The Respect Party stands for peace, publicly owned services and a decent future for all.
We want a world in which the democratic demands of the people are carried out; a world based on need not profit; a world where solidarity rather than self-interest is the spirit of the age. We want to reach out to all those who share our views, to build a new party for change in the interests of ordinary people.
Election Successes – two steps forward, one step back
In the 2005 general election Respect got impressive results despite the ‘first past the post’ electoral system, which makes things difficult for a new party. We were able to win results in a clutch of inner-city working class constituencies which no other left party had achieved for a very long time.
Expelled Labour MP George Galloway stood for Respect in the east London constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow and overturned a 10,000 majority held by the New Labour pro-war MP Oona King.
In two other east London constituencies, East and West Ham, Respect came second to Labour. In another east London constituency, Poplar and Canning Town, we came third.
In Sparkbrook and Small Heath in Birmingham Salma Yaqoob won 27.5 percent of the vote – only 3,000 votes short of winning the seat.
George Galloway announced in 2007 that he would not be the candidate for his seat, Bethnal Green & Bow, at the 2010 General Election. Instead, Abjol Miah would contest Bethnal Green & Bow, while Galloway would be a candidate for the nearby, newly created and notionally safe Labour seat of Poplar and Limehouse.
Unfortunately, as with all the smaller parties in that election, our vote was squeezed in the ‘battle royal’ between Labour and the Conservatives and Galloway came third with 8,460 votes, (17.5%). Next door in Bethnal Green Abjol Miah also came third with 8,532 votes, (16.8%).
However in Birmingham Hall Green constituency Respect party leader Salma Yaqoob received 12,240 votes (25.1%) placing her second after Labour candidate Roger Godsiff, who received 16,039 votes (32.9%) making this a marginal seat. Salma was returned as the councillor for Sparkbrook Ward in south Birmingham.
In December 2010 Respect reasserted its relevance to Tower Hamlets as Fozol Miah, who had lost his council seat in the May elections, was returned to office in a by-election in Banglatown and Spitalfields ward.
At the Annual Party Conference in November 2010, Respect voted to amend its previously held position of not organising in Scotland. As a result George Galloway was able to announce that he would be a candidate for the 2011 elections to the Holyrood Parliament standing in the Glasgow party list election.
In February 2011 negotiations were concluded with other Scottish organisations and individuals to form an electoral ‘Coalition against Cuts’ to contest the Glasgow list in May. George failed to get elected to the Scottish Parliament but did receive 6,972 votes.
In July 2011, Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob was forced to stand down from her seat as councillor in Birmingham Sparkbrook due to ill-health.
In March 2012 George Galloway won the Bradford West by-election recieveing 18,341 votes or a stunning 55.9% of the votes cast. Galloway’s victory was the first time that the main opposition party had lost a seat in a by-election since the May 2000 Romsey by-election (when the Conservatives lost to the Liberal Democrats). Respect’s increase in share of the vote, 52.8%, was the largest in the history of mainland British parliamentary by-elections since the introduction of universal suffrage.
On the 25th January 2014, Respect celebrated its 10th birthday. We are now looking forward to the next 10 years. Britain needs Respect as much as ever and we’re going to continue standing for them.
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