Former British ambassador Craig Murray, who stood against Jack Straw in Blackburn in 2005, has been picked to represent George Galloway's party at the upcoming general election in the town.

The 65-year-old was the UK's envoy in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004 before being dismissed, and in 2005 he stood as an independent in Blackburn, then represented by Foreign Secretary Mr Straw.

He has now been chosen as the Workers Party of Britain candidate for the upcoming election in Blackburn, which currently has one MP - George Galloway, who won the Rochdale by-election.

In 2005, Mr Murray came fifth out of seven candidates with 2,082 votes - five per cent of the total.

Now Mr Murray, who also fought the July 2009 Norwich North by-election where he came sixth, will take on Mr Straw's Labour successor Kate Hollern when the national poll is called.

A former Rector of the University of Dundee, he has supported Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's fight against extradition to the United States, and was jailed for eight months in 2021 for contempt of court over his comments on the trial of former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond for alleged sexual offences.

A statement on the Workers Party of Britain website said: "Murray’s very name carries the weight of credibility and conviction, renowned for his lifelong crusade against human rights abuses, obfuscation, and global injustice.

"He has fearlessly championed these sacred causes at every turn.

"During his tenure as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, Murray courageously defied the party line to expose the Karimov regime’s grotesque crimes against humanity – braving the wrath of his Foreign Office masters.

"Such principled resistance to torture and tyranny stands as a testament to his uncompromising moral rectitude.

"His relentless pursuit of transparency in global politics and fervent advocacy for human rights epitomize the values championed by the Workers Party.

"In him, the proud traditions of ethical economics, dignified labour, and equitable distribution find their modern voice.

"Rejecting the pernicious creeds of neoliberalism that have laid waste to our national fabric, Murray offers a bold, patriotic vision of Britain’s revival through the Worker’s Party’s planned, socially conscious governance.

"The Workers Party stands shoulder to shoulder with Murray, aligning with all those brave enough to defy the chains of this oppressive parliament.

"In Murray, Blackburn discovers its champion of the working class – a stalwart advocate who will relentlessly amplify the voices of the marginalised."

Mrs Hollern said: "'After fourteen years of the Conservatives, the country desperately needs change. Tory chaos has cost us dearly and the people of Blackburn are paying the price.

"I am very proud to have dedicated my time to serving our communities, and my passion for our town remains stronger than ever. I am committed to being an ardent and powerful voice for local people.

"I recognise that there will be a number of candidates standing. The electors will have to decide who they feel best represents the town – and I have a record of delivering for Blackburn.

"It would be an honour and a privilege to continue as our town’s Member of Parliament, if I am elected at the next general election."


Other confirmed candidates for the Blackburn constituency so far are Adam Waller-Slack for the Liberal Democrats, and Paul Topping of the Social Democratic Party.

Polling aggregation website Electoral Calculus currently forecasts Labour having a 98 per cent chance of retaining the Blackburn seat.