Former England cricketer Monty Panesar to stand for election

Former England cricketer Monty Panesar to stand for election
Former England cricketer Monty Panesar announced that he will run in the next UK general election with the Workers Party of Britain.
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Panesar (C) will stand in west London's Ealing Southall constituency [Getty]

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 Israel's war on Gaza, 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 said.


Wealth gap

Panesar said he wanted to stand up for the working class and address Britain's wealth gap.

"When I played for England there was so much support from the fans and the whole nation when they put me where I am today," he told the domestic Press Association news agency.

"It's my turn now to actually help the working-class people, whatever problems they have. The gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger and bigger."

Panesar said Galloway's party was "more aligned" with the working class than the Labour party under Keir Starmer, which is traditionally the home of blue-collar voters.

Galloway, a former Labour lawmaker, is hoping to tap into what he sees as disaffection with the Conservative government and other mainstream parties.

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Starmer is widely expected to win the election, but Galloway has condemned him for his stance on Israel's military action 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.

The Workers Party has set out a 10-point programme, including a call for "an end to imperialist wars and financial domination, starting with withdrawal from NATO".

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."