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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Profile of George Galloway
George Galloway
Mr Galloway has been an MP since 1987
Controversial Labour MP George Galloway rose to Parliament from humble beginnings as a general labourer in the parks of Dundee.

He went on to become a production worker for Michelin Tyres, becoming an active trade unionist and rising to be a labour organiser in the late 1970s.

No stranger to controversy from the early days of his career, Mr Galloway flew the Palestinian flag from Dundee's council offices when he was a local representative there.

By 1983 he had secured the position of general secretary of War on Want - a third world charity - and just four years later he defeated the then SDP member for Glasgow Hillhead, Roy Jenkins to become a Labour MP.

The 48-year-old, whose second wife is a Palestinian scientist who works at Glasgow University, has remained a Labour MP in Glasgow ever since.

In Parliament his opposition to the first Gulf War, his support for Palestinian causes and his opposition to Iraq sanctions raised his profile.

Gorgeous?

But it was his decision to visit Iraq on several occasions and hold talks with key figures in Saddam Hussein's regime - including the dictator himself - that proved most contentious.

Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability
George Galloway
Dubbed the 'member for Baghdad Central' by some fellow MPs the generally sun-tanned politician has also been nicknamed 'Gorgeous George'.

In 1994 he was shown on television telling Saddam: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability."

After a more recent trip he said that he had been offered Quality Street chocolates by the dictator.

His campaign to raise money for a young Iraqi girl, Mariam Hamza, to fly her to the UK for treatment for leukaemia won him a rather better press than some of his other activities.

Throughout his campaigns he has stressed that his concern is for the welfare of the Iraqi people.

He has continued to hit the headlines on a regular basis including a spat with the then Foreign Office minister Ben Bradshaw who accused Mr Galloway of being "not just an apologist but a mouthpiece for the Iraq regime over many years".

Wolves

Mr Galloway said Mr Bradshaw was lying and the minister later apologised for his comments.

During the war, in an interview with Abu Dhabi television, Mr Galloway said Tony Blair and George Bush were "wolves" for the "crime" of military action against Iraq.

He also questioned why Arab countries persisted in selling oil to coalition countries when Iraq was being attacked.

Although Mr Galloway's anti-war views were in line with many in the Labour Party, his long-standing closeness to the Iraq regime meant that he has been widely seen as a maverick rather than as a spokesman for the peace movement.




SEE ALSO:
Blair fury at Galloway attack
18 Apr 03  |  Scotland
Galloway denies Iraq payment claims
22 Apr 03  |  Politics


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