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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 15:54 GMT
Galloway reality TV move defended
George Galloway
Mr Galloway: "Coming across as human"
The Respect coalition - which George Galloway MP represents - has hit back at criticism over his stay in TV's Celebrity Big Brother household.

Accusations that constituents were unable to get help with local issues were unfounded, said his spokesman.

Mr Galloway says he believes his decision to take part in the Channel 4 programme is good for politics.

His spokesman said although there had not been much politics talked, he was "coming across as a human being".

It is his hope that Big Brother would provide the kind of platform that the media does not normally provide for him
George Galloway's spokesman

Mr Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow has joined celebrities such as former game show host Michael Barrymore, Faria Alam, who had an affair with England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, US basketball star Dennis Rodman and model Jodie Marsh.

"George's constituency office continues to run as it has always done - the office is open five days a week and seven days a week by phone," the spokesman said.

Mr Galloway has said his presence in the house is a way of getting his message across to millions of people who might not otherwise be interested in politics.

But a group calling themselves the United Residents of Bethnal Green and Bow have set up a website headed: "Contestant George Galloway MP - Why Isn't He At Work?"

His spokesman said Mr Galloway was there to represent the "wider issues" of his constituents and that the outspoken MP wanted to "exploit new and different avenues" for these.

Unless Mr Galloway walks out of the reality television programme early, he will miss a debate in Parliament about the Crossrail project, the new trainline which will affect many of his constituents.

His spokesman said Mr Galloway had already spoken in the Commons on the second reading Crossrail bill, although he admitted: "It would be nice if he was there."

'Demonise'

He said Mr Galloway was keen to travel around the country to get his views and those of his supporters known rather than "hanging around in Parliament" where often votes are already decided, he added.

"It is his hope that Big Brother would provide the kind of platform that the media does not normally provide for him," he told the BBC News website.

"He is coming across as a human being, while the press have tried to demonise him in the past."

"But I have not seen much political discussion so far," he added.

Talkshow host Michael Barrymore is the bookies' favourite to win the show, with Mr Galloway being given odds 10/1.


SEE ALSO:
Big Brother Galloway criticised
06 Jan 06 |  UK Politics
Should MPs be on Big Brother?
06 Jan 06 |  Have Your Say
Big Brother keeps mum on line-up
02 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
Celebrity Big Brother won by Bez
23 Jan 05 |  Entertainment
Bets off after Big Brother 'leak'
22 Jan 05 |  Entertainment
Has reality TV become too cruel?
12 Jan 05 |  Entertainment


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