Galloway stays in 'Big Brother' as criticism mounts

The Government's Chief Whip has launched a petition calling on George Galloway to leave the reality show Celebrity Big Brother and return to the job of representing his constituents.

Last night, the Bethnal Green and Bow MP Mr Galloway survived the first eviction when glamour model Jodie Marsh was voted off the programme. Before the vote, Mr Galloway had said: "I'm not used to losing elections, and I'd be sorry to lose this one."

He said that he had chosen to appear on the programme to reach out to younger viewers and show a more "human" side. "I hope to show that there's nothing extreme, nothing frightening about me," he said.

"I wanted to show that I'm not a desiccated, calculating, maniac zealot who only talks or thinks about the war."

Channel 4 announced last night that the former DJ Sir Jimmy Savile is to visit the Big Brother house this afternoon.

Ms Armstrong's campaign followed an extraordinary performance from Mr Galloway in the Big Brother house. Pretending to be a cat, he purred and licked imaginary cream from the hands of the actress Rula Lenska, as part of one of the "tasks" set for contestants.

Meanwhile, the House of Commons was debating the Crossrail project, which will affect his east London constituency.

Ms Armstrong was unimpressed by Mr Galloway's feline antics, saying they had made her "cringe". The Labour MP for North-West Durham said: " I'm absolutely bemused that he decided to do something where he is uncontactable by the people he represents or works for. Something serious could happen here today and no one can contact him - and that to me seems a bit strange for someone who is a publicly elected official.

"No one can talk to him, they can watch him and this is not a very edifying experience, but his constituents, cannot see him working for them and representing them in Parliament."

The petition stated: "We believe this egotistical action shows a shameful lack of respect for the people of this constituency.

"We call on him to represent and respect his constituents, not further his own ego, as he is by remaining totally out of touch in the Big Brother house."

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 said that it would only allow contact between housemates and the outside world if it was a matter of life or death.

Mr Galloway's office strongly rejected the accusation that he had neglected his duties as an MP, insisting that surgeries were being held in his absence and dismissing the Crossrail debate as a discussion about " technicalities". A spokesman for Mr Galloway said: "It's a stunt. I'm sure nobody in Bethnal Green and Bow has ever seen Hilary Armstrong. George's constituency work is being done by staff. There haven't been any complaints and there's no dereliction of duty. The Crossrail debate was about technicalities, it wasn't a vote. He didn't miss anything."

Mr Galloway, who is reported to have received £60,000 for his appearance, said he agreed to do the show to raise money for a Palestinian charity and because it gave him the opportunity to talk to a television audience of millions. John Biggs, a Labour London Assembly member, said: "I think there is a need for politicians to engage with people, but I do not think that being on Big Brother is the best way to achieve it. We have had a steady flow of people come to it not to complain about George, but because they have issues they want addressed."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Guru Careers: Business Analyst / Digital Business Analyst

£50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Analyst / Digital Bus...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power