When news happens, text ROMS and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Labour inquest after Galloway win
George Galloway of the Respect Party speaks on stage after winning the Bradford West by-election at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre
Labour denied it had neglected northern voters as the inquest into George Galloway's sensational by-election victory in Bradford West began.
Respect candidate Mr Galloway swept to a dramatic win in the poll, securing a 10,000-plus majority in what he called a "massive rejection" of mainstream parties.
His party leapt from fifth place at the 2010 general election to a commanding victory for the ex-Labour anti-war campaigner against his former party on a swing of 36.59%. Mr Galloway, who claimed it was "the most sensational result in British by-election history bar none", won 18,341 votes to the 8,201 for Labour candidate Imran Hussain.
The result is a serious blow for Labour, which entered polling day as overwhelming favourite to retain the seat at the end of a fraught week for the Government. Instead, it became the first Opposition party to slump to defeat in a mid-term poll since the Liberal Democrats took Romsey from the Tories in 2000.
Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman admitted: "It is a very bad result, there's no denying it," but added: "I don't think it's true to say this is a case of us taking a constituency for granted, that's not what happened here. I think we are going to have to learn lessons. We are going to have to have very, very thorough discussions with all the local Labour people and the local community up in Bradford so we can learn lessons and we have to rebuild from here."
Labour went into the contest - sparked by the resignation due to ill health of Marsha Singh - the overwhelming favourite with bookmakers. Some closed their books on Thursday, however, after receiving a late flurry of large bets that Mr Galloway would cause a serious upset.
As he did in the 2005 general election, when he dramatically swiped an east London seat from his former party, Mr Galloway targeted the votes of a large Asian community. Turnout in the poll was just over 50% - considered high for such a contest, especially in an urban area.
Ms Harman defended Labour's fight in the constituency, saying: "There had been active campaigning over a long period of time, but something did go very badly wrong and our connections, roots and engagement with the local community and people up and down that constituency obviously were not deep enough, not strong enough. We need to review that and understand what happened and learn lessons. But the idea we were simply neglectful and absent is not the case, it's actually more complicated than that."
The Conservatives polled 2,746 votes, suffering a swing of -22.78%, but party chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi attacked Labour leader Ed Miliband for failing to capitalise on the Government's recent difficulties. "If Ed Miliband can't get his act together after a week like this, when is he going to get his act together?" she told BBC Radio 4. "This is a Labour seat, has been for many, many decades and last night they lost it in spectacular fashion. We saw Bradford West saying, 'You (Labour) can't take us for granted, we're no longer going to vote for you'."
Unlike after his 2005 election victory in Bethnal Green and Bow, where Mr Galloway said he would serve only one term, he said he hoped to be MP for Bradford for the long term.