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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Fireworks from Galloway
By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

George Galloway
Mr Galloway was contemptuous of those judging him
Defiant, dismissive and contemptuous - a fired-up George Galloway was all these as he rejected the punishment delivered to him by Parliament's standards watchdog.

In characteristic style, the anti-war Respect MP in effect refused to recognise the court of "Sir Humphrey, or Sir Bufton or Sir Tufton or whatever he is called".

Flashing his anger and lack of respect for the individuals who censured him and the institution of which he is a member, he said it was probably no surprise a pro-war parliament had attacked the leader of the anti-war party.

The standards committee had criticised him for "concealing the true source of Iraqi funding" to a charity he set up and failing to co-operate with the parliamentary commissioner for standards.

But, standing on the green opposite the Palace of Westminster, the MP gestured behind him to thunder: "Those behind me are the last people on earth who have the right to criticise anyone for the way they fund a political campaign."

Donors to parties sitting in Parliament had been shown to be "convicted fraudsters, thieves and a even a convicted rapist".

He was, he said, not going to stand there as a punchbag. He would be fighting back.

War criminal

That fight back will come in a Commons debate on the report during which, he warned or promised, depending on your take, he intended to speak "for a long time".

And if anyone can do it, George Galloway can. Book your seats now for the statement which he said had no time limit on it.

He would be putting the war on trial and highlighting the irony of the same people who had given a standing ovation to a war criminal (Tony Blair) then censuring him, the man who had always warned against it.

They should be giving him a medal for his opposition to the war on Iraq, not attacking him, he declared.

It was classic, gripping Galloway and promised a riveting Commons performance to compare with the roasting he gave US politicians when he appeared before a senate committee two years ago.

People's verdict

If he is nothing else, this controversial, much-criticised MP is a performer who gives great value for money.

Needless to say, many will greet his performance with a wry smile and claim that, like others before it, it was just that - theatre designed to obscure fact with rhetoric and declamation.

He has few admirers in the Commons and he will certainly see his suspension confirmed by MPs.

He does not care, indeed he is bound to use the ensuing publicity to argue for his cause.

He only cares about "the verdict of the people" and they, he suggested, were behind him.

He was more in touch with ordinary voters than those sitting in Westminster, and the word on the lips of most of those voters when considering their elected representatives was "contempt".

He may be wrong, and his critics right. But in the current political climate - the one Gordon Brown insists he is determined to change - it is a message many will hear with some sympathy.

George Galloway's response

Galloway faces Commons suspension
17 Jul 07 |  UK Politics

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