UK election 2024: Pro-Gaza candidate Adnan Hussain defeats Labour in Blackburn

Blackburn has been represented by Labour MPs for 69 years

Imran Mulla

Adnan Hussain in Blackburn (Adnan Hussain)
Adnan Hussain in Blackburn (Adnan Hussain)

Independent candidate Adnan Hussain unseated Labour’s Kate Hollern in the northwestern ex-industrial town of Blackburn on Friday, in a sign that the Labour Party’s position on the war on Gaza proved divisive and disastrous amongst many voters.

The political novice managed to secure 10,518 votes, winning by the slim margin of just 132 to Hollern’s 10,386 votes. 

Former British ambassador Craig Murray, who also stood on a pro-Gaza platform for George Galloway’s Workers Party, came in third place with 7,105 votes.

The seat in northwestern Blackburn had been represented by Labour for 69 years.

The 34-year-old solicitor Hussain, who runs a local legal practice, stood on a pro-Gaza platform and was backed by a group of former Labour councillors who quit the party over its Gaza policy. In the local elections in early May the group became the borough’s second-largest party.

Hussain told Middle East Eye in mid-June that he was confident he would win. “I was raised in this community. I talk their language. I know their struggles,” he said.

“Gaza is important and it’s the reason why I stood. But poverty is a massive issue too and so is healthcare.”

Hollern had managed to get 64.9 percent on the vote for Labour in 2019, but the party’s early support for Israel’s war on Gaza was seen as a key driver for her losing the Muslim vote, who make up 35 percent of the local electorate, as well as many others appalled by the conflict.

Elsewhere, Workers Party George Galloway has been unseated in Greater Manchester’s Rochdale. In Leicester South, in the east Midlands, independent candidate Shockat Adam has been elected, unseating Labour shadow cabinet minister Jon Ashworth.

Pro-Gaza candidate Adnan Hussain defeats Labour in Blackburn

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