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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Galloway finds home support
George Galloway
Mr Galloway's expulsion has angered some activists
The chairman of George Galloway's constituency Labour party has said that he is "disgusted" by the decision to expel the MP for comments he made over the Iraq war.

Mark Craig said that the members of Labour's National Constitutional Committee who took the decision did not approach the issue "with a fair and open mind".

He said:"How anyone can look at the charges that have been brought against George and find him guilty I cannot understand."

Mr Galloway, the MP for Glasgow Kelvin, had faced five charges relating to a television interview during the war in which he accused Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush of acting "like wolves" in invading Iraq.

Sparking a by-election

He was found guilty of inciting Arabs to fight British troops and inciting British troops to defy orders.

The committee also found that he threatened to stand against Labour and backed an anti-war candidate in Preston.

Mr Craig said that he was in two minds over whether Mr Galloway should stand down as an MP sparking a by-election which he could fight as an independent.

He said: "I am split on this.

"I think it would highlight the illegality of the British intervention in Iraq. But, on the other hand, the House of Commons needs people like George Galloway.

George is a principled and courageous man who opposed the war, as did the Pope and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Tony Benn

"I would like George Galloway to be in there for at least the next two years as a member of parliament.

"If he stays as the present member for Glasgow Kelvin and then decides to fight the new Glasgow Central seat as an independent he will have my full support."

Other figures who pledged to back Mr Galloway included veteran Labour statesman and former Cabinet minister Tony Benn.

He said: "George is a principled and courageous man who opposed the war, as did the Pope and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Standing ovation

"What hope is there for the Labour Party if the public think that when you join you just become a private in Mr Blair's army and have to obey orders or be thrown out of the party? That is what is really worrying."

The Stop The War Coalition, which mounted protests outside the committee meeting in support of Mr Galloway, said the expulsion was an "absolute disgrace."

Convenor Lindsey German said: "George Galloway told the truth before, during and after the war with Iraq, whereas Tony Blair has told nothing but lies.

"It is disgraceful that the Labour party is penalising George Galloway and giving Tony Blair a standing ovation because that does not reflect the British people's views."




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