Four independent Bradford councillors have joined Respect, bringing the number belonging to George Galloway’s party on the council to five.

The four are Faisal Khan (Bradford Moor), Alyas Karmani, (Little Horton), Ishtiaq Ahmed (Manningham) and Ruqayyah Collector (City). The councillors were originally elected as Respect councillors following Galloway’s sweeping 2012 by-election victory. Asama Javed, who recently joined Respect from Labour, is the fifth. She is the party’s candidate in Halifax in the forthcoming General Election

“I am delighted to welcome our four comrades back and looking forward to working with them in the future,” said George Galloway. “New Labour is imploding in Bradford. We’ve seen the sad shenanigans over the selection of a candidate to oppose me at the General Election, with the one who came bottom of the poll imposed on the local party. And it’s an open secret that the Bradford party and the Labour group on the council are riven with internal dissension.

“I am confident that this won’t be the last such announcement,” Galloway added.

Ishtiaq Ahmed said “After much consideration and reflection over the last few months we are pleased to announce that we will be rejoining the Respect Party in Bradford from immediate effect. In October 2013 we resigned from Respect due to unresolved issues within the party, these were mainly administrative and operational issues and we had since remained as Independents in Bradford Council.

In essence these fundamental issues have now been resolved through intense dialogue initiated by Respect officials and a clear strategy has been formulated to move the party forward, taking this into consideration we feel it is the appropriate move for Bradford and our respective ward members, regrettably other mainstream political parties have failed yet again to demonstrate that they actually represent the best interests of the ordinary working class, and this is clearly demonstrated by the dire education situation in Bradford which they have failed to recognise and tackle.

It is our intention to continue working for people from all backgrounds to help drive a broad set of policies focussed on things that matter to people – the local economy, education, health, quality of life and robust long-range planning. Needless to say we will remain committed to the electorate and will continue to advocate for the citizens of Bradford, and work hard for the interests of our constituents and we will continue to represent them in Council on the issues that affect them in the District just as we have done over the last 3 years since being elected.