ENG: George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British Respect Party politician, author, journalist, and broadcaster, and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford West. He was previously an MP for the Labour Party, for Glasgow Hillhead and then its successor constituency Glasgow Kelvin from 1987 until his expulsion from the party in October 2003, the same year that he came to national attention for his opposition to the Iraq War. He subsequently became a founding member of the left-wing Respect Party, and was elected as the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005. In 2010, Galloway unsuccessfully contested the seat of Poplar and Limehouse, and in 2011 he unsuccessfully contested the Glasgow list for the Scottish Parliament, before being elected as an MP in the Bradford West by-election, 2012. Galloway is well known for his campaigns in support of the Palestinians in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. He attempted to both overturn economic sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s and early 2000s and to avert the 2003 invasion. Galloway testified to the United States Senate in 2005 over alleged illicit payments from the United Nations' Oil for Food Programme.
Early and personal life
Galloway was born in the Lochee area of Dundee to a Scottish trade unionist father and Irish republican mother. He describes himself as "born in an attic in a slum tenement in the Irish quarter of Dundee, which is known as Tipperary". He grew up in Charleston and attended Charleston Primary and then Harris Academy, a non-denominational school. During his school years at Charleston Primary and Harris Academy, he used to play football for the school team. As an amateur footballer, he went on to play for West End United U12s, Lochee Boys Club U16s and St Columbus U18s.
From 1979 to 1999, he was married to Elaine Fyffe, with whom he has a daughter, Lucy.
In 1994, he married Amineh Abu-Zayyad as a second wife in a Muslim ceremony (later after his divorce from his first wife, he and Abu-Zayyad also undertook a civil ceremony); Zayyad filed for divorce in 2005. In 2005, Galloway married as his third wife Rima Husseini, a Lebanese woman and former researcher, also in a Muslim ceremony. She gave birth to their first son, Zein in May 2007.
Galloway was raised as a Roman Catholic. He turned away from the Church as a young man, but returned in his mid-20s after a trip to Beirut in 1977, becoming a passionate supporter of Palestine stating "barely a week after my return I made a pledge to devote the rest of my life to the Palestinian and Arab cause". By his own account he decided, at the age of 18, never to drink alcohol.
He disapproves of it and describes it as having a "very deleterious effect on people".
Galloway is a lifelong supporter of Celtic Football Club.
Labour Party organiser
Galloway joined the Labour Party at 13 years old and, within five years, was secretary of the Dundee West constituency party. His enthusiasm led him to become Vice-Chairman of the Labour Party in the City of Dundee and a member of the Scottish Executive Committee in 1975. On 5 May 1977, he contested his first election campaign in the Scottish district elections, but failed to hold the safe Labour seat at Gillburn, Dundee. He was defeated by the Independent candidate Bunty Turley, who was a trade unionist running on the campaign slogan "Enough is enough" after allegations were made about Galloway's personal and financial behaviour. Galloway became the secretary organiser of Dundee Labour Party—the youngest ever Scottish chairman—in March 1981 at 26 years old.
His support for the Palestinian cause began in 1974 when he met a Palestinian activist in Dundee; he supported the actions of Dundee City Council which flew the Palestinian flag inside the City Chambers.
He was involved in the twinning of Dundee with Nablus in 1980, although he did not take part in the visit of Lord Provost Gowans, Ernie Ross MP and three City Councillors to Nablus and Kuwait in April 1981.
In 1981, Galloway wrote an article in Scottish Marxist supporting Communist Party affiliation with the Labour Party. In response, Denis Healey, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, tried and failed to remove Galloway from the list of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates. Galloway successfully argued that this was his own personal viewpoint, not that of the Labour Party. Healey lost his motion by 13 votes to 5. He once quipped that, in order to overcome a £1.5 million deficit which had arisen in the city budget, he, Ernie Ross and leading Councillors should be placed in the stocks in the city square: "we would allow people to throw buckets of water over us at 20p a time."
Galloway stood for a place on the Labour Party National Executive Committee in 1986; in a large field of candidates he finished second from the bottom.
At the 1986 Labour Party Conference, he made a strong attack on the Labour Party's Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor Roy Hattersley for not favouring exchange controls.
War On Want
From November 1983 to 1987, Galloway was General Secretary of War On Want, a British charity that campaigns against poverty worldwide. In this post he was much travelled, writing eye-witness accounts of the famine in Eritrea in 1985 which were published in The Sunday Times and The Spectator.
The Daily Mirror accused him of living luxuriously at the charity's expense. An independent auditor cleared him of misuse of funds, though he did repay £1,720 in contested expenses. He later reportedly won £155,000 from The Mirror in an unrelated libel lawsuit.
More than two years after Galloway stepped down to serve as a Labour MP, the UK Government investigated War on Want. It found accounting irregularities from 1985 to 1989, but little evidence that money was used for non-charitable purposes. Galloway had been General Secretary for the first three of those years. The commission said responsibility lay largely with auditors, and did not single out individuals for blame.
On 10 August 2007, Galloway confirmed he would stand in newly created constituency of Poplar and Limehouse where the Labour Party had a notional majority of 3,942. The Labour candidate was the current Poplar and Canning Town MP Jim Fitzpatrick. Galloway said he had planned to stand down from Parliament at the next election, but was prompted to stay on and fight to win the neighbouring east London constituency after he felt he was unfairly suspended from Parliament for 18 days. In the election Galloway was defeated, coming third after the Labour and Conservative candidates. He received 8,460 votes.
After the resignation of sitting Labour MP Marsha Singh due to ill health, Galloway returned to Parliament at the Bradford West by-election, 2012 in an unexpected landslide result, with Galloway calling it "the most sensational victory in British political history".
Galloway advocates greater spending on welfare benefits, and some nationalisation of large industries. Galloway is opposed to abortion, although he supports Respect's pro-choice stance. He opposes Scottish independence but supports the right of the people to vote on the matter via a referendum. He also supports the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, George Galloway supported Solidarity, despite not supporting all their policies, such as Scottish independence. Galloway has attracted most attention for his comments on foreign policy, taking a special interest in Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. According to the report Preventing terrorism, where next for Britain? from the counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, which receives private and public funding, Galloway is "Islamist backed". Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4Uk and a former MCB spokesperson, disagreed, saying: "This is just like someth. ng straight out of a Stasi manual. The advice from Quilliam is frankly appalling and incredibly self-serving."