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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May 2005, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Paxman v Galloway

POSTED: Friday 6 May,

For anyone who missed it overnight, the tussle between George Galloway and Jeremy Paxman was one of the highlights, which came shortly after his victory over Labour's Oona King.

JP: We're joined now from his count in Bethnal Green and Bow by George Galloway. Mr Galloway, are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?
GG: What a preposterous question. I know it's very late in the night, but wouldn't you be better starting by congratulating me for one of the most sensational election results in modern history?
JP: Are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?
GG: I'm not - Jeremy - move on to your next question.
JP: You're not answering that one?
GG: No because I don't believe that people get elected because of the colour of their skin. I believe people get elected because of their record and because of their policies. So move on to your next question.
JP: Are you proud -
GG: Because I've got a lot of people who want to speak to me.
JP: - You -
GG: If you ask that question again, I'm going, I warn you now.
JP: Don't try and threaten me Mr Galloway, please.
GG: You're the one who's trying to badger me.
JP: I'm not trying to badger you, I'm merely trying to ask if you're proud at having driven out of Parliament one of the very few black women there, a woman you accuse of having on her conscience 100,000 people.
GG: Oh well there's no doubt about that one. There's absolutely no doubt that all those New Labour MPs who voted for Mr Blair and Mr Bush's war have on their hands the blood of 100,000 people in Iraq, many of them British soldiers, many of them American soldiers, most of them Iraqis and that's a more important issue than the colour of her skin.
JP: Absolutely, because you then went on to say "including a lot of women who had blacker faces than her"
GG: Absolutely right, absolutely right. So don't try and tell me I should feel guilty about one of the most sensational election results in modern electoral history.
JP: I put it to you Mr Galloway that Nick Raynsford had you to a T when he said you were a "demagogue".
GG: Sorry?
JP: Nick Raynsford. You know who I mean? Nick Raynsford. Labour MP?
GG: No, I don't know who you mean.
JP: Never heard of him.
GG: I've never heard of Nick Raynsford, no.
JP: What else haven't you heard of?
GG: Well, I've been in Parliament a long time...
JP: He was a Parliamentary colleague of yours until very recently.
GG: Well, most of them just blend one into the other, Jeremy, they're largely a spineless, a supine bunch.
JP: Have you ever heard of Tony Banks?
GG: Yes I have, yes.
JP: Right, Tony Banks was sitting here five minutes ago, and he said that you were behaving inexcusably, that you had deliberately chosen to go to that part of London and to exploit the latent racial tensions there.
GG: You are actually conducting one of the most - even by your standards - one of the most absurd interviews I have ever participated in. I have just won an election. Can you find it within yourself to recognise that fact? To recognise the fact that the people of Bethnal Green and Bow chose me this evening. Why are you insulting them?
JP: I'm not insulting them, I'm not insulting you
GG: You are insulting them, they chose me just a few minutes ago. Can't you find it within yourself even to congratulate me on this victory?
JP: Congratulations, Mr Galloway.
GG: Thank you very much indeed. [Waves, removes microphone]

I normally enjoy Paxman's interview's of politicians but he was way out of line with his question to our new MP. My whole family voted for Respect as we decided to choose the lesser of two evils, as politicians are regarded very lowly in my eyes. However only time will tell if Mr Galloway will help Bethnal Green & Bow move forward or be like Labour and do nothing.
Dilwar Hussain, Bethnal Green, London

It's not Galloway that Paxman was unashamedly slapping in the face, it's the electorate of Bethnal Green and Bow. How embarrassing for him that he found it so difficult to congratulate someone just voted into Parliament through a democratic process!
Jaff, London

I think that increasingly JP is becoming a parody of himself. He approaches interviews in an aggresive manner with apparently more interest in tripping people up than gaining insight to their politics. Regardless of what you think of Galloway the question was absurd and JP has embarassed himself.
Niall Duncan, Dundee

I don't like Paxman normally - but he was spot on with this one. Well done.
Alan Milnes, Glenrothes, Scotland

Paxman is a disgraceful example of a celebrity newspresenter, more interested in his own hard-nosed image than actually doing his job. Paxman was far more sucessful inciting racial tension in that shameful interview than Galloway ever has and he should lose his position at the BBC as a result. What ever happened to unbiased interview technique? Paxman should go work for Fox News!
Fred Nicolle, Cambridge, UK

I like Jeremy's aggressive and combative style of questioning. In these days of pat, over rehearsed answers, his pre-emptive "cut them off at the knees with the first question" strategy is the only way to unsettle glib and camera savvy politicians. Oona King was a fine and hard working constituency MP, dilberately targeted by Galloway because of the ethnic and religious make-up of her constituency. Galloway fought a genuinely nasty campaign, making much of Ms King's fair skin colour (and her Jewish heritage to boot), Jeremy Paxman was right to call him on it. More power to him.
hamble mary , Sri Lanka, nee London

Paxman should be sacked and replaced with a black woman presenter. Congratulations to Respect and George Galloway.
ben caldwell, London

Paxman's first question was idiotic. By repeatedly asking it, he clearly thought this was another "did you threaten to overrule him?" scenario. (Which, admittedly, had been his finest hour.) In this incredibly unprofessional interview, he seemed to have a personal vendetta against Galloway. And even succeeded in eliciting sympathy for him. Truly, truly dismal.
Chris Miller, Edinburgh

Mr Galloway is one of the least likeable figures in politics and I would have loved to see him properly cut down to size by Paxman, instead i was left seeing a bitter squable in which Paxman asked a stupid question repeatedly and Galloway actually came off well for refusing to talk to him.
Rob Green, Edinburgh

I think what Jeremy is suggesting is that Galloway has unseated a strong, popular and hard working politician, who had built up an important relationship with her constituents, and who was representative of a section of society that is grossly underrepresented in Parliament. Fighting a single-issue election campaign is all very well in priciple, but I have my doubts about Galloway's competence as a day-to-day MP. Good for Paxman, Galloway needs a strip or two torn from him.
Lucy, Wandsworth, London

Is Paxman seriously suggesting that someone should be given a clear run because of their colour and sex? If so, that is sexist and racist. Is he suggesting that the only candidate who can stand against a black woman is another black woman? Is this some sort of crazy card game? I trump your black woman with a black gay woman? I'm liberal, would probably be termed politically corrext, but I fear Paxman is becoming a parody of himself.
Paul, London

Absolutely classic Paxman! He's the only reason i still watch Newsnight. He's the only guy on TV who'll give someone like Galloway the slapping he deserves!
Owen Callan, Dublin

Another digusting interview. Does Mr Paxman mean muslims are not intelligent enough to choose their MP?
Martin, London

Galloway and all politicians are boring! Paxman is as entertaining as he is astute! I love this guy!
Bud Patterson, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA

If Galloway claims not to be using racial tension then why did he stand in South London and not in Glasgow where he used to be? Good on paxman for giving him a hard time.
Ken, Bath, UK

Jeremy Paxman has lost the plot. He has gained plaudits for this style of interview on a couple of occasions, but it wasn't appropriate this time (it rarely is) nor did it work. If this was one of the highlights of the evening I'm glad I had an early night.
Alan, Farnborough, Hampshire, England

Good on you JP. Considering that this 'gentleman' was advocating acts of Treason by British troops not so long ago, it is very surprising that he is still at liberty. The man has no shame or sense of loyalty.
Craig Hughes, Blackpool, Lancs

Many BBC journalists seem to be setting the political agenda. They rush the pace giving no time for their interviewee to develop a properly considered opinion. This has led to the politics of the sound byte with the journalists themselves (Humphrys, Montague, Sturton, the hapless Naughtie and the unspeakable Paxman et al.) becoming part of the story. The unelected, carrying responsibility for the decline of our political culture, but yet unaccountable.
Graham Dickinson, Moenchengladbach Germany

I know Galloway is little better than the rest of them, what with his record of getting in to bed with Saddam Hussein and Tariq Aziz, (like most of the West up until the first Gulf War, mind), but the questioning by Paxman seems a bit off the mark. Worse thing is, some of the Repsect policies like re-nationalisation of the railiways appeal to me. Unfortunately, another party with an unbearbale leader.... sounds familiar!
Simon Evans, london

Brilliant! I am a student myself and aside from the election you have fantastic watchable television so late in the morning. Galloway got away with nothing. Well Done Jeremy, top questioning!
Darren McDonald, Batley, West Yorkshire

For Paxman to even imply that a white politician beating a black politican is something in itself 'bad' is disgusting. Paxman should apologise immediately to Galloway and to his viewers
David, London

Congratulations to Mr Galloway upon his election to parliament. The people of his new constituency have shown a lot more maturity than Mr Paxmen gives them credit for. Doesn't Mr Paxman realise that the large ethnic component in Mr Galloways new seat have had the commonsense to vote for him, based on the issues. The electorate have concentrated on what Mr Galloway stands for, rather than being blinded or obsessed by racial/sexist issues as Mr Paxman is. In this interview Mr Paxman is in fact guilty of exactly what he wishes to accuse Mr Galloway of. What a disgrace!
Jim Hudson, Brisbane, Australia

I had just nodded off and missed this one, disaster! Did see Ken Clarke, humorous as ever, but it seems he's been left with egg on his face as the exit polls which are "always wrong" have bit him and the Tories on the behind!
Paddy, N.Ireland

Absolutely disgusting line of questioning by Jeremy.
Ben Smith, Manchester

I was proud of you Jeremy, you didn't let Galloway get away with posturing and set the tone straight off the bat with a fantastic question. Galloway should have known Jezza would be more than up for a ruck!!
Colin Brown, Orpington

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