Skip to main content

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

Adnan Hussain, a 34-year-old local who ran on a pro-Gaza platform, won with 10,518 votes, narrowly defeating Labour's Kate Hollern by just 132 votes
Adnan Hussain speaks at a campaign event in Blackburn on 2 July, 2024 (Screengrab)
Adnan Hussain speaks at a campaign event in Blackburn on 2 July, 2024 (Screengrab)

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.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


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.

Although it was a spectacular night for Labour, with the party winning a landslide victory with at least 411 seats in the House of Commons, it performed badly in areas with a high proportion of Muslim voters in a sign of anger towards Keir Starmer over Labour's position on Israel's war in Gaza.

In one of the biggest shocks of the night, pro-Palestine candidate Iqbal Mohamed resoundly beat Labour incumbent Heather Iqbal by 6,934 votes, after securing 41.1 percent of the total vote share.

In Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn was reelected to the seat he has held since 1983 – but this time as an independent, rather than for Labour. He won with 49.2 percent of the vote, while the Labour candidate came in second with 34.4 percent.

In his victory speech, Corbyn said the voters of Islington North were "looking for a government that on the world stage will search for peace, not war, and not allow the terrible conditions to go on that are happening in Gaza at the present time."

And in Birmingham Perry Barr, independent Ayoub Khan defeated Labour incumbent Khalid Mahmood, who had held the seat since 2001, by 507 votes.

Meanwhile, in Holborn and St Pancras, Starmer held his London seat but with a significantly decreased majority - down 17 percent from the last election - whilst in Ilford North, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting saw his majority fall from more than 9,000 in 2019 to just 528 against 23-year-old Leanne Mohamad.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.