Election 2015

Election profile: Respect Party

George Galloway Image copyright AP
Image caption George Galloway took the seat of Bradford West in a by-election

Respect was born out of the anti-war movement and emphasises a need for unity among Britain's working-class communities.

Left-wing groups who had been struggling for years to make an electoral impact were galvanised by the 2003 protest against the Iraq war, which saw about a million people take to the streets of London to demonstrate against the US-led invasion.

They began to find common cause over other left-wing issues, leading in 2004 to the formation of Respect - the Unity Coalition.

The party's name is an acronym, standing for respect, equality, socialism, peace, environment, community, trade unionism.

Electoral upsets

Its flagship campaigns include the nationalisation of industry, high taxes on the rich and improved representation of Muslims in public life.

Although Respect at first avoided a traditional centralised model by having an elected council of members, it later moved to having one leader at the head of the party.

At present, the leader is George Galloway, with whom the party's fortunes have been closely associated.

The Respect MP has been in and out of the Commons in a series of electoral upsets following his expulsion from the Labour Party in 2003.

He won Bethnal Green and Bow for Respect in 2005 with a 26% swing from Labour.

Five years later he stood and lost in the neighbouring constituency, before returning to Parliament in 2012 with a surprise victory at the Bradford West by-election, again with a large swing from Labour.

Disagreements over Respect's candidate selection and internal democracy led to the party splitting in 2007, with Mr Galloway and his supporters on one side and members of the Socialist Workers' Party (SWP) on the other.

Salma Yaqoob, another of the party's most recognisable faces, stood down as a councillor in 2011 and later resigned from the party, citing a breakdown in party relations.

But Mr Galloway and the wider party have continued to make their voices heard.

For example, Mr Galloway was a vocal opponent of Scottish independence, arguing against nationhood as a basis for social justice.

The party has also been one of many campaign groups to speak out on behalf of Muslims against what it perceives as demonisation in the wake of Islamist terror attacks.

It will hope to build on its record in these areas to target a small number of seats where support for Respect is relatively high, as in Bradford and Birmingham.