||Article on this story from the Mirror
THE BACKLASH Sep 11 2004
Muslim anti-war vote loses safe seat for Labour
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
LABOUR is facing a Muslim backlash over Iraq with thousands of traditional supporters defecting to the anti-war Respect party.
In a shock result, the Party was driven into third place in a council
by-election in Tower Hamlets, East London - the safest Labour borough in
The area has a strong Asian community which used to hand Labour easy
But defections to Respect split the vote and allowed Tory Simon Rouse to
win the Millwall Ward on a 20 per cent swing.
A recent opinion poll revealed Muslim support for Labour nationally has
plummetted [sic] to 38 per cent from 75 before the September 11 attacks
three years ago.
Former Tory MP Harry Greenway, who fought several unsuccessful campaigns
there in the 70s, said: "A Tory graveyard is now a fertile jumping-off
point for success at the next general election."
Tower Hamlets is in the Westminster constituency of Bethnal Green and
Bow, where the MP is Blair ally Oona King.
George Galloway, whose Respect party won a seat on the council in a
by-election last month, said: "Oona King must be a very worried Blair
Last month former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook toured mosques in a bid
to persuade Muslims back to Labour. He said: "There is dismay of the
Prime Minister's decision to take us to war on Iraq."
And in June, Labour's support slipped in the West Midlands after Tony
Blair sent a letter to Muslim households begging them not to desert the
Labour said: "We are constantly trying to build relations with all
communities. This is a concern but Respect is not a major threat across
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