Former England cricketer Monty Panesar to be candidate in UK general election

Workers Party of Britain leader George Galloway said Panesar "will be our candidate in Southall", which is a majority Sikh area.
Monty Panesar (File | AFP)
Monty Panesar (File | AFP)

LONDON: Former England cricketer Monty Panesar is to stand at the next UK general election for the fringe Workers Party of Britain, its leader George Galloway said on Tuesday.

Galloway, a left-wing firebrand who was re-elected to parliament in March after tapping into anger over the Israel-Hamas war, said Panesar was one of 200 candidates the party is putting up for the vote.

Left-arm spinner Panesar, 42, played 50 tests for England, taking 167 wickets between 2006 and 2013.

Born Mudhsuden Singh Panesar in Luton, north of London, to Sikh parents who emigrated from the Indian Punjab, he became a firm fan favourite and a distinctive figure in the field in his black patka.

He will stand in the Ealing Southall constituency in west London at the vote, which is expected to be held later this year.

To be elected, he will have to overturn a 16,084 majority set by Virendra Sharma, from the main opposition Labour party, at the last national poll in 2019.

Galloway told LBC radio that Panesar "will be our candidate in Southall", which is a majority Sikh area.

"Monty, of course, was a great left-arm spinner so we could do with him," he added.

Galloway, a former Labour lawmaker, is hoping to tap into what he sees as disaffection with not only the Conservative government but the Labour opposition under Keir Starmer.

Starmer is widely expected to win the election, but Galloway has condemned him for his stance on Israel's military action against Hamas in Gaza and is hoping to exploit Labour divisions on the issue.

At Galloway's own election, the Labour candidate withdrew after touting a conspiracy theory that Israel allowed Hamas to carry out its deadly attack on October 7 last year.

Galloway said voters were rejecting the "Tweedledee, Tweedledum politics" of the Tories and Labour, as well as "culture war" issues over "race and gender, wokery and greenery and quackery".

"We stand up for the working people. Our country is falling apart at the seams.... Not since 1941 have we been in such trouble," he added.

"And there's no Mr Churchill to step into the breach."

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The New Indian Express