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    Politics

    'I would have ruined my ballot if I had voted in Rochdale,' says Wes Streeting, who is 'ashamed'

    Asked by Sky News who people should vote for in Rochdale, Wes Streeting said: “I'm just glad I'm doing it.” “You don't have to make that choice” Photo: TAYFUN SALCI/ZUMA PRESS WIRE/SHUTTERSTOCK

    Labour voters in Rochdale should spoil their ballots after the party's candidate was dropped over an anti-Semitism scandal, Wes Streeting has suggested.< /p>

    Mr Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said he was “sorry and ashamed” that people in Greater Manchester would not be able to support the Labor Party in the upcoming by-election.

    Azhar Ali was suspended from office last week . after it emerged that he had repeated a conspiracy theory about the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

    But the decision was made only after nominations for the seat had closed, meaning he would still appear on the ballot . as a Labor Party candidate.

    Mr Streeting was asked who people should vote for in Rochdale, which was represented by Labour's Sir Tony Lloyd, who died last month.

    The shadow health secretary told Sky News: “I'm just glad I won't have to make that choice and I just want to say I'm really sorry for the voters in Rochdale.”

    “I don’t think I would have voted – I would probably have spoiled my ballot if I lived in Rochdale and I’m really sorry we put people in that position.”

    Mr Streeting said voters could “make their own decisions” but were “not spoiled for choice” now that Labor no longer had a candidate.

    He added: “I am very sorry and ashamed that Rochdale voters have been left in this position,” saying the party would field “the best candidate” at the general election.

    George Galloway, a former Labor and Respect Party MP, is now favorite to win the February 29 election after campaigning heavily on the Gaza Strip.

    He will oppose Mr Ali, who remains in the election race as an independent candidate. and whose allies claim he was purged for speaking out on behalf of the Palestinians.

    Simon Danczuk, who was Labor MP for Rochdale from 2010 to 2017, is standing for the UK Reform constituency.

    Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labor Party, has begun to harden his party's position on Gaza. ceasefire after months of unrest by MPs and members of his front bench.

    In his harshest remarks yet on the situation, Mr Streeting warned that Israel's military action had gone “beyond the bounds of reasonable self-defence” and declared this may have violated international law.

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