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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 08:20 GMT
Galloway 'not ashamed' by antics
George Galloway

Respect MP George Galloway has admitted being "slightly embarrassed" by his antics on reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother, but added he was not ashamed.

He said he had tried "something different" to get his message across.

He told the BBC he would judge if he had succeeded after 25 public meetings next month, and May's local elections.

The Respect MP, who was not paid his Commons salary while on TV, has been accused of letting down constituents - and ridiculed for impersonating a cat.

Labour activists delivered cat food to his East London home with the Tom Jones song What's New Pussycat? playing on a car stereo.

The MP for Bethnal Green and Bow told BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine programme that the important thing was he had raised money for charity.

He likened the tasks, which also included dancing in a leotard, to the sort of things BBC presenters do to raise money for charity on Children in Need.

Our task is to take politics to the people. That's what I do for a living, and that's what I will continue to do
George Galloway

He said: "Other MPs might have been at the House of Commons, and some of them might have been propping up the bars. Other MPs might have been on exotic foreign trips, fact-finding in the Seychelles or the Maldives. I was trying something different."

Mr Galloway added: "Why are we talking about this? The world is in flames. The Liberal Democrat party is imploding... there is war and pestilence and disease in the world. Why are we talking on national radio for 10 minutes about me, for charity, pretending to be a cat?

"Even if it didn't work, at least the people in Palestine might have shoes for their children and something to put in their children's stomachs and two additional staff will be working in my constituency office as a result."

No salary

Mr Galloway's eviction from the Channel 4 programme on Wednesday happened on the same day the Daily Telegraph lost its appeal against a 150,000 libel award to the MP.

"I represent a different kind of politics," Mr Galloway told a press conference following his exit, after a three-week stay.

But IT consultant Phil Hankinson, 33, from Goldman Close, seconds away from Mr Galloway's home, said: He's not done any good for this area, he's made a fool of himself and also the people who voted for him in this area."

Speaking to presenter Davina McCall, Mr Galloway said: "Our task is to take politics to the people. That's what I do for a living, and that's what I will continue to do."

If Galloway thinks that he is getting young people interested in politics he is seriously mistaken
Laura, Newcastle Under Lyme, UK

Critics accused Mr Galloway of arrogance and self-interest for appearing on the show, missing issues important to his East London constituency, such as a debate on the London Crossrail scheme.

It emerged on Wednesday that an investigation into complaints about his conduct could be reopened by House of Commons standards watchdog Sir Philip Mawer.

The Serious Fraud Office is also looking into the results of a UN-backed investigation into alleged kickbacks from Saddam Hussein.

My audience was not the Evening Standard or Radio One, or the daily whatever
George Galloway

A decision on whether to proceed to a full criminal investigation of UK links to the scandal is expected to be taken within the next couple of months.

Mr Galloway said he had already said "all I've got to say" on the matter, adding: "There have been all sort of allegations in relation to the oil-for-food programme. All of them are false."

He expressed delight at the Court of Appeal's decision not to reduce the damages from the Daily Telegraph awarded to him in December 2004.

Mr Galloway was the fourth person evicted from the show, having got 64.7% of the public vote while up against former basketball player Dennis Rodman and model Chantelle Houghton.

The MP said after his release from the television programme's house that he was "amazed" his impression of a cat while on the show, an antic well-documented in the press, had caught the nation's imagination.


SEE ALSO:
Galloway should go, say voters
26 Jan 06 |  London
Galloway evicted from Big Brother
25 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
Galloway wins libel award battle
25 Jan 06 |  UK Politics
Galloway 'cat' act sparks anger
13 Jan 06 |  UK Politics


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