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Respect builds on Galloway success

George Galloway's Respect Party has followed up his shock victory in the recent Bradford West by-election by taking its first seat on the city's council.

Mr Galloway was not at the count at the Richard Dunn Sport Centre as his party took the Bradford City ward.

The maverick new MP said he is boycotting the count following a dispute with the council over passes for his party.

Respect has put up candidates in 12 of Bradford's 30 wards.

The council currently has no party with overall control and is run by a minority Labour administration.

Many in the hall said they believe Respect will win at least four council seats.

Mr Galloway's supporters are predicting more than seven - a tally which could leave them with a crucial role to play in a hung council.

The first ward declared in Bradford went to Labour with sitting councillor Michael Johnson beating his Respect rival Sarah Cartin by 1,000 votes in Tong.

Respect followed this with another victory in the Manningham ward. Ishtiaq Ahmed polled more than 1,000 votes more than the sitting Labour councillor Mohammad Amin.

Respect took their third seat in Bradford from the Tories. Sitting councillor Sajid Akhtar was beaten by Mohammad Shabbir in the Heaton ward.