Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Friday, 8 July 2005 15:17 UK

I was right to blame Blair, says Galloway

By Ben Davies
BBC News political reporter

Within hours of Thursday's bombing atrocity Respect MP George Galloway was on his feet in the House of Commons saying Londoners had paid the price for Tony Blair's policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His comments were branded "disgraceful" by Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram.

George Galloway
Mr Galloway was a vocal opponent of the Iraq war
But at a Stop the War Coalition press conference Mr Galloway was having none of it, insisting the families of the dead and injured would not be offended by his words.

US President George Bush and UK premier Tony Blair had chosen to be overtly political when they made their comments on Thursday.

"Silence would be complicity. I am not prepared to be complicit when people in Iraq and London are paying a blood price for Blair's bizarre special relationship with Bush," he said.

The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe

In the Commons Mr Galloway was heckled as he spoke. But at the Socialist Workers Party Marxism 2005 conference on Friday, just around the corner from the scene of the Bloomsbury bus bomb, he received a rapturous welcome.

Expelled

Clearly for many on the left the MP's stock could not be higher and telling a room full of comrades that Tony Blair's administration is a "rotten government with a rotten foreign policy" was a genuine crowd pleaser.

He said although the primary responsibility for Thursday's attack on London lay with the terrorists, UK involvement in Iraq played its part.

Mr Benn wants the Middle East peace process back on the agenda
"If you go on bombing other people they will go on bombing us," he warned.

Mr Galloway, who was thrown out of the Labour party over remarks he made about the Iraq war, later said Mr Blair should quit and the UK should "cease its obscene special relationship with the worst US president ever".

Change of direction?

"We must get out of that axis of evil," the Bethnal Green and Bow MP said.

"I don't believe Mr Blair or Mr Bush are capable of solving this problem - I believe they are the cause of this problem," he said.

He said Britain would be a safer place if it had a change of foreign policy.

"We will threaten the safety of our citizens and our interests unless we change political course," he warned before stressing he did not think the West should talk to Osama Bin Laden.

At the same event former Labour cabinet minister Tony Benn warned that Thursday's atrocity was "only just the beginning for this country" and he called for leaders to re-engage with the Middle East peace process.



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