Fact File: George Galloway

 

Britain has its fair share of maverick politicians, but as a dependable source of soundbites and surprises, few can match George Galloway.

He began his political career by ousting Roy Jenkins to become Labour MP for Glasgow Hillhead in 1987, and a flair for scandal was soon apparent. In 2003 his vociferous anti-war stance got him expelled from the Labour party. At the time, Galloway prophesied Labour would “rue the day they took this decision”. He has certainly been a thorn in the party’s side ever since. 

As the most prominent member of the left-wing Respect party, he has twice triumphed in Labour stongholds, once in 2005 in Bethnal Green and Bow and in 2012 he returned to the house as MP for Bradford West with a majority of more than 10,000 votes.

Some attribute the improbable longevity of Galloway's career to voodoo-like rhetorical skills. Spectacular speech-making has helped him weather the “oil for food” scandal and an appearance before a Senate committee hearing in Washington DC. 

His non-political activities are almost as exciting; an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, four marriages, an alleged secret conversion to Islam and a controversy-courting pronouncement on the rape allegations against Julian Assange. Love him or hate him, Gorgeous George is never dull.

The Numbers

33/1 – Odds given by Ladbrokes for Galloway to win the Bradford West by-election. Source: politics.co.uk

£150,000 – Libel damages Galloway received from the Daily Telegraph over articles claiming he had received money from Saddam Hussein’s regime. Source: The Telegraph

4 – The number of times George Galloway has been married. Source: Huffington Post

10,140 – The size of the majority which secured Galloway’s win in the 2012 Bradford West by-election. Source: BBC News UK

Further Reading

George Galloway is anything but gorgeous, leading article, The Independent, 2012

Galloway and Aung San Suu Kyi – so alike, Mark Steel, The Independent, 2012

“One day, I’ll be a national treasure”, Jemima Khan, New Statesman, 2012

Paxman v Galloway BBC News, 2005

George Galloway: You have to salute his indefatigability, Matthew Norman, the Telegraph, 2012

Timeline

1954 – Galloway is born in Dundee

1987 – Elected Labour MP for Glasgow Hillhead

2003 – Expelled from the Labour Party following comments he made on the Iraq War

2005 – Galloway wins Bethnal Green and Bow seat

2005 – Galloway appears before a US Senate committee hearing

2006 – Galloway enters Big Brother house

March 2012 – Galloway returns to the House following his victory in Bradford West.

Aug 2012 - Galloway alienates some followers with his clains that the sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be considered rape

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