Lib Dems suspend Rochdale council candidate after LBC reveal he was campaigning for George Galloway

19 February 2024, 14:30 | Updated: 19 February 2024, 14:59

The candidate has been pictured with Mr Galloway's election leaflets
The candidate has been pictured with Mr Galloway's election leaflets. Picture: Supplies
Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

The Liberal Democrats have suspended one of their candidates at the upcoming council elections in May, after he was spotted campaigning with George Galloway.

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Farooq Ahmed, who is standing as a Lib Dem candidate in Central Ward in Rochdale, has been spotted on numerous occasions campaigning against his own party at the upcoming Rochdale by-election.

One Liberal Democrat councillor told LBC “it is inconceivable that we have a council candidate standing under a Lib Dem banner, who is campaigning - not just against our party - but for a man who is totally at odds with our values and principles in George Galloway”.

They added “he needs to be suspended immediately”.

Read more: Rochdale by-election | Full list of candidates

Farooq Ahmed is standing as a Lib Dem candidate in Central Ward in Rochdale
Farooq Ahmed is standing as a Lib Dem candidate in Central Ward in Rochdale. Picture: Supplied

Mr Ahmed has been delivering official Liberal Democrat leaflets - in which he is pictured alongside the party’s candidate Iain Donaldson - with the official website of the Rochdale Lib Dems as well as his ‘priorities for Central Ward’.

George Galloway is one of eleven candidates standing in the Rochdale by-election on the 29th February after the death of veteran Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd. LBC also recently revealed that Mr Galloway also had the support of Councillor Tiger Patel, a former Conservative.

Both the Labour Party and the Green Party have withdrawn support for their respective candidates, Cllr Azhar Ali and Guy Otten.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: "Under 3.8D of our Federal Constitution, you are not allowed to support another political party. Therefore Farooq Ahmed has clearly established he is no longer eligible to be a member."

A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism told LBC" "George Galloway is an inflammatory firebrand with an atrocious record of baiting the Jewish community. He has previously and infamously declared Bradford an 'Israel-free zone', said of his previous election loss that 'the venal, the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating', described David Baddiel, a Jewish comic who is well-known for not closely associating himself with Israel, as a 'vile Israel-fanatic ‘comedian’, described the Labour antisemitism allegations as 'a disgraceful campaign of Goebbelsian fiction' and was sacked by TalkRadio in connection with allegedly 'antisemitic views'. More recently, he has also espoused outrageous conspiracy theories since 7th October. His endurance in our public life serves to exploit extremist sentiment and divide communities.

"Clearly, this is someone the Lib Dems should wish to be distancing themselves from."

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