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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Galloway complies with watchdog
George Galloway
Mr Galloway won his libel battle with two newspapers
Respect MP George Galloway said he will list a libel fighting fund in the Commons register of members' interests.

He had been given seven days to give details of the fund aimed at fighting court actions against two newspapers.

He faced disciplinary action if he failed to comply by releasing details including names of major donors.

Mr Galloway said he disagreed with the Parliamentary watchdog and urged it to probe party funding claims including allegations of cash for peerages.

"Perhaps now the mechanisms of parliamentary scrutiny can focus on the unfolding scandals that the three largest parties are mired in," he said.

"There is a Metropolitan Police investigation into undeclared loans totalling reportedly 35m and into whether the 1925 Act on the abuse of honours has been breached by members of this government and its agents.

"That's what the public want investigated, not 10 repayable donations by pensioner peace activists to a legally-administered fund."

'Repayments'

The Commons standards and privileges committee said it had never dealt with a situation where an MP had set up a fighting fund in this way. New guidance is to be issued on the subject.

It is understood the fund received 41,000 in mostly small donations. There were two donations of 1,000, one of 822.50 and one of 800. The rest were all less than 550 - the threshold at which donations have to be declared.

Mr Galloway's lawyers have said the MP intends, as far as he can, to return the donations after the success of his libel actions and if a donor could not be contacted he would give the money to a charity in his Bethnal Green and Bow constituency.

The Commons standards and privileges committee had accepted a finding by Commissioner for Standards Sir Philip Mawer that Mr Galloway had received both a "pecuniary interest and material benefit" from the existence of the fund, therefore it should have been registered.

Sir Philip continues to investigate other complaints about Mr Galloway in relation to allegations he received 375,000 from Saddam Hussein's former regime through the UN oil-for-food programme - claims the MP denies.


SEE ALSO:
Galloway launches poll campaign
10 Apr 06 |  UK Politics
Telegraph concedes to Galloway
16 Feb 06 |  UK Politics



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