Workers' Party for Britain founder and leader George Galloway stands to the left of winning Workers' Party councillor Shabas Sarwar. Both are smiling, and Galloway is leaning towards a reporter while answering a question. They are stood outside - the walls of the Manchester Conference Hall are visible in the background.

Deputy city council leader ousted by Workers’ Party in Longsight

  • Workers’ Party of Britain beats Labour by 185 votes – 2,444 to 2,259
  • WPB’s Shabas Sarwar replaces Labour’s Luthfur Rahman, current deputy Manchester City Council leader
  • Councillor Sarwar credits win to stance on Gaza war
  • Featured image credit: Leslie Kerwin

Labour’s Luthfur Rahman, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, has lost his council seat to Workers’ Party of Britain candidate Shabas Sarwar after he won 2,444 votes – beating Labour by 185.

It comes after the WPB took control of a further two seats in Rochdale following the 2024 local elections.

Workers’ Party winner Shabas Sarwar shakes hands with Labour’s Luthfur Rahman Credit: Leslie Kerwin

Following the election outcome, Councillor Sarwar said he was ‘proud’ of his achievement as someone “new to the political arena” and that he believed the vote had been decided by his party’s support for a ceasefire in Gaza, alongside local issues affecting Longsight.

“The Labour Party’s stance against Gaza had a huge impact here,” he said. “[The Gaza situation] has divided the ward, and it has divided the community.

“I think it’s 50-50. When you look at Gaza, the issues there, it needs to be resolved. Labour needs to call for a permanent ceasefire, it needs to stand for humanity.

“We think that the Labour Party is not just drifting away from British values, but local values as well.”

A large room full of people inside the Manchester Conference Hall during the election count. It is well lit and crowded.
Manchester’s election count Credit: Leslie Kerwin

The Workers’ Party of Britain describes itself as a socialist and working-class party, with the key aims of its ’10 point plan for Britain’ including “an end to imperialist wars and financial domination, starting with withdrawal from Nato”.

Its other aims focus on cheaper housing and easier access to healthcare and transport, as well as promises to ‘rebuild British industry’ by focussing on higher-quality working conditions. The party’s leader George Galloway – a former Labour MP – founded the WPB in 2019, though has since been widely denounced for homophobic remarks in which he said he “does not believe gay people to be equal”.

When asked for a response, Councillor Sarwar said he was “unaware” of the allegations.

Workers' Party of Britain leader and founder George Galloway stands next to winning counsellor Shabas Sarwar. Both are smiling as Galloway talks to a reporter. They are standing outside, and the outer walls of the Manchester Conference Hall are visible.
George Galloway standing next to winning councillor Shabas Sarwar Credit: Leslie Kerwin

Councillor Sarwar was later joined by Mr Galloway following the win, with the latter declaring his support for the win.

“This is a historic victory,” Mr Galloway said. “The deputy leader of the city council of the greatest city in England has just been toppled in a massive swing by a candidate standing for the first time – by a party standing for the first time in Manchester.

“Shabas will change everything in Longsight. Manchester is already the greatest city in England – but Longsight is about to become the capital of the capital of the North.”