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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October 2003, 06:30 GMT 07:30 UK
Galloway expelled by Labour
George Galloway
George Galloway welcomed by supporters before the inquiry
MP George Galloway has been expelled from the Labour Party in the wake of his outspoken comments on the Iraq war.

The Glasgow Kelvin member immediately denounced the decision as "politically motivated" and said Labour would rue the day it decided to throw him out.

But Labour chairman Ian McCartney insisted that party had been right to expel a man who "incited foreign forces to rise up against British troops".

MIXED EMOTIONS
George Galloway's constituents react to his expulsion

"He was the only Labour MP to do this and he has never taken back or apologised for these comments," he said.

Mr Galloway predicted he would "certainly" contest the next election as an independent and said he might quit to run against Labour in a by-election.

He faced five charges relating to a number of television interviews, including one during the war in which he accused Mr Blair and George Bush of acting "like wolves" in invading Iraq.

The charges faced by Mr Galloway were understood to be that:

  • he incited Arabs to fight British troops
  • he incited British troops to defy orders
  • he incited Plymouth voters to reject Labour MPs
  • he threatened to stand against Labour
  • he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston

He was found guilty of all but the third charge.

The accusations were judged to break a rule which bans "bringing the Labour Party into disrepute by behaviour that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the party".

There is no right of appeal against the ruling, although it is possible that it could be challenged in the courts.

Mr Galloway said: "This was a politically motivated kangaroo court whose verdict had been written in advance in the best tradition of political show trials."

I intend to make sure that Tony Blair regrets this day
George Galloway

He went on to warn that Labour might well act against other MPs opposed to the Iraq war such as Glenda Jackson and Bob Marshall-Andrews.

And he added that the anti-war movement "is not going away".

"Labour will rue the day that they took this decision," said Mr Galloway.

He said that he had been a member of the party for 36 years having joined when he was just 13-years-old.

"I was prominent in the Labour Party when Tony Blair was just an ugly rumour," he said in a jibe about the prime minister's student band.

Health jibe

And, in a reference to the prime minister's weekend health scare, Mr Galloway continued: "I am still under 50-years-old, I have a strong heart."

He said he would stick around to "fight with every bone in my body to bring a lying, deceiving prime minister to account".

HAVE YOUR SAY
George was simply reinforcing the view of the British public on the Iraq war
Andy, Leeds, UK

He added that he was determined to stay in public life.

"I intend to make sure that Tony Blair regrets this day," he said.

The MP got a rousing reception on Thursday evening as he arrived at an anti-war meeting in Haringey, London.

Three members of Labour's 11-man National Constitutional Committee had heard evidence both from Mr Galloway and from deputy general secretary Chris Lennie.

Labour says the disciplinary committee are rank-and-file party members who are "fiercely independent".

'Demeaning'

The committee was made up of Labour "rank-and-file" members Noel Jenkins, Rose Burley and Lee Vasey.

On Wednesday, Mr Galloway said: "While I have no complaint about the conduct of the tribunal itself, the evidence of the Labour Party's only witness, it's own deputy general secretary, was a sad, degrading and demeaning affair."

Rose Burley, chair of the National Constitutional Committee panel, said in a statement: "Following the case brought by the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party to the National Constitutional Committee and after a two day hearing the unanimous decision of the panel of the National Constitutional Committee found four of the five charges brought against Mr Galloway proven and the decision of the panel was that Mr Galloway be expelled from membership of the Labour Party forthwith."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
George Galloway MP
"I am not going anywhere"


The BBC's Mark Mardell reports
"This flamboyant MP is now the pin-up of the anti-war movement"



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