The Respect Party sought to challenge Prime Minister Tony Blair's New Labour Party from the left at the London Assembly and European Parliament elections in 2004, and gained a quarter of a million votes. The party claims that this support was achieved primarily as a result of the anti-war protests and by attracting votes from "Old Labour" supporters who felt Blair had moved the party too far to the right and away from core socialist beliefs. The correlation between the performance of Respect and the Muslim population of an area suggested that it succeeded in attracting the votes of some Muslims who felt alienated by Labour's support for the war in Iraq. Respect almost immediately won a council seat in Preston as SWP member Michael Lavalette was elected as a Socialist Alliance candidate in 2003, but subsequently voted with the majority of the SWP to wind down the Socialist Alliance in favour of the newly formed party, who was joined by a former Labour councillor, Steve Brooks.
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