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Last Updated:  Monday, 7 April, 2003, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Galloway: I'll fight expulsion
Labour MP, George Galloway, left, sits next to Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz in 1999
George Galloway (left) with Iraq deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz in 1999
A Labour MP whose outspoken opposition to war with Iraq has prompted speculation he might be expelled from the party has vowed to stay and fight.

George Galloway last week branded Tony Blair and George Bush as "wolves" for their attack on Iraq.

Labour sources have said that they are looking into what action to take against the Glasgow Kelvin MP.

But Mr Galloway said his expulsion would make a mockery of democracy and he denied being a traitor.

Mr Galloway said: "As a Labour Party man with 35 years of membership - much longer than Mr Blair - I would fight it every inch of the way.

Are there no depths to which George Galloway will not sink?
Adam Ingram
"I am not without support in the country, not least within the Muslim community, which feels virtually powerless and almost voiceless amidst this catastrophe in Iraq.

"And it would send the message that Mr Blair wants free speech in Baghdad but not in the British Parliament."

A number of reports have suggested that Labour's parliamentary party plans to withdraw the whip from Mr Galloway.

That would mean that he would still be a member of the Commons but not a Labour MP.

Further disciplinary measures might then follow forcing him out of the Labour Party altogether.

'Unacceptable'

Mr Galloway said the move would "make a mockery of the case that democracy is better than dictatorship".

Following his interview with Abu Dhabi TV, Armed forces minister Adam Ingram accused him of breaking his oath of allegiance to the Queen, while Education Secretary Charles Clarke branded his remarks "completely unacceptable".

Mr Galloway has long been an outspoken critic of American and British policy on Iraq.

The MP has consistently opposed sanctions imposed on Iraq after the last Gulf War complaining that they inflict huge suffering on ordinary Iraqis.

Mr Galloway has visited Iraq on numerous occasions and met the country's president and major figures in the government.

'No treachery'

In his interview Mr Galloway said: "The wolves are Bush and Blair, not the soldiers. The soldiers are lions led by donkeys, sent to kill and be killed."

Mr Ingram responded: "Are there no depths to which George Galloway will not sink? I am sure such disgraceful comments will be rightly condemned the length and breadth of this country."

But Mr Galloway rejected suggestions that his comments amounted to an act of treachery.

He said: "As for being a traitor, the people who have betrayed this country are those who have sold it to a foreign power and who have been the miserable surrogates of a bigger power for reasons very few people in Britain can understand."

He added: "Given that I believe this invasion is illegal, it follows that the only people fighting legally are the Iraqis, who are defending their country."

Mr Galloway denied that his interview amounted to incitement to Arabs to kill British troops.

He added: "The best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders."




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