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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Galloway's party pledges honesty
George Galloway
Respect is contesting 30 parliamentary seats
The anti-war Respect coalition has launched its election campaign with a promise that its candidates will always be honest with voters.

The party, which was formed last year by former Labour MP George Galloway, says it "told the truth about Iraq" and will continue to do so on other issues.

Respect is contesting 30 seats in England and Wales at the election.

A spokeswoman said: "We're not a single issue party and will be fighting for pensions and against privatisation."

'Electric atmosphere'

More than 700 people attended the party's election launch in London's Bishopsgate on Wednesday night, and gave Mr Galloway's speech a standing ovation.

Mr Galloway, who was expelled from Labour for comments about the Iraq war, is standing against pro-Iraq war Labour MP Oona King in Bethnal and Bow.

We told the truth about the war and now it has come to light that everything we said was true
Ghada Razuki

Spokeswoman Ghada Razuki said: "The atmosphere was electric. We had to have an overflow room because so many people turned up.

"These people weren't hand picked like Tony Blair's entourage - I didn't recognise 80% of them."

Respect's candidates are targeting the seats of Labour MPs who voted for the war on Iraq, in areas including Birmingham, Bristol, Bradford and Hove.

Ms Razuki, a former Labour supporter, insisted the party was not simply going for the "Muslim vote" or that it stood on a single issue ticket.

"We stand for what Labour should be doing, which is fighting for what working people in this country want and also for telling the truth," she said.

"We told the truth about the war and now it has come to light that everything we said was true.

Tower Hamlets

"We are also against privatisation and we want pensions linked to earnings. We are also concerned that housing should be affordable.

"We are not a single issue party. The people who attended last night included young and old, Muslims and non-Muslims."

Respect won the St Dunstans and Stepney Green ward in the London borough of Tower Hamlets at a council by-election last summer.

The coalition also polled a majority of votes cast in the borough in the European Parliament poll on 10 June.

Respect's full name is Respect Equality Socialism Peace Environment Community Trade Unionism.