George Galloway has come third in the Batley & Spen by-election.

The leader of the Workers Party of Britain said he would be challenging the result in court, which saw Labour’s Kim Leadbeater win by the skin of her teeth, despite predictions that the Conservative Party could cause the constituency to swing blue.

Galloway, who was accused of running an intimidating campaign, received some 8,000 votes and garnered much more panic that he would split the vote and contribute to Labour’s demise.

What else do we know about him?

Political career

Galloway is no stranger to local politics. He has been the MP for a grand total of four constituencies and for two parties. His first stint was in 1987 when he was chosen to represent Glasgow Hillhead, which later became Glasgow Kelvin. In 2005, he moved down South and became an MP for the Respect Party in Bethnal Green and Bow.

In 2012, he ventured North, and won the Bradford West by-election. He has also stood, unsuccessfully, in a number of elections including for the Scottish Parliament and in the London Mayoral election.

Iraq and expulsion from the Labour Party

In 1994, Galloway travelled to Iraq to meet Saddam Hussein and appeared to express his support for him, leading to him being strongly reprimanded by the Labour Party. Galloway said he was a supporter of the Iraqi people, not Hussein, but met with him for a second time in 2002, prompting further criticism.

Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 for calling on British troops serving in the Iraq War to disobey orders.

Views

Galloway identifies as a socialist. He has expressed his support for Palestine and is against Scottish independence, among other things. Tottenham Hotspur accused Galloway of “blatant antisemitism” in 2019, following their loss to Liverpool in the Champions League final.

After the match, he tweeted: “No Israel flags on the Cup!”, saying that this referred to the Spurs fans who were flying the flag in the crowd, showing “an affiliation to a ‘racist state’”.

He has also been criticised for refusing to debate with an Israeli student and for saying “Bradford is an Israel free zone” and his support for Chris Williamson - who was expelled from the Labour Party for antisemitism, and frequent denunciations of Zionism have also raised eyebrows.

He is a supporter of Brexit and in 2019 said he would back Nigel Farage “for one time only”.

Celebrity Big Brother

In 2006, Galloway appeared on a series of Celebrity Big Brother. In deeply distressing scenes, as part of a task, Galloway pretended to be a cat. He got on all fours, purred and licked his lips. There are some things you can’t unsee and this really is one of them.

In another episode, he performed the robot dance move beside Pete Burns while wearing a tight, red leotard with a plunging neckline and we will just leave that to your imaginations.

Media

Galloway regularly appears on Russian state channel, Russia Today and has also been interviewed by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

While a Respect Party MP, Galloway was a columnist for Holyrood, the political magazine, but he was sacked in 2012 for his comments about rape allegations lodged against Julian Assange.

Galloway said during a podcast that he “condemned” Assange’s “sordid and disgusting” sexual behaviour - but claimed the accusations “don’t constitute rape”.

The Wikileaks founder was accused of having sex with a woman who was asleep, which Galloway described as “bad sexual etiquette but... it is not rape”.

In 2012, editions of his two programmes for London-based news channel Press TV were found to have breached Ofcom’s code on impartiality.

Galloway said he would eat his hat if his prediction – that Labour would come third in the Batley & Spen by-election - proved false:

Time to get his knife and fork out, then.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)