Pandora: 'Telegraph' legal eagles pull Gorgeous book plug

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The Independent Online

It is three years since George Galloway's famous libel victory against The Daily Telegraph, but still the firebrand Respect MP's name lingers around the newspaper's Victoria office like a stale Aberdeen kipper.

A review of David Morley's new biography of Galloway, entitled Gorgeous George, was recently due to appear in the paper's literary pages.

Although the piece was relatively positive about the book and, so I'm told, entirely inoffensive about Galloway, the Telegraph's legal team decided to have it pulled at the 11th hour.

"We were told a review had been written and was going in the paper. Then, at the last minute, we were told by the literary editor they had been instructed to take it out," says a spokesman for Mr Morley's publisher Politicos. "We were informed the piece was considered a sufficient risk not to run. It is really frustrating for us because we understood the person who wrote the review had given a decent write-up."

The Telegraph declined to comment on the matter yesterday. However, I am informed by one hack that ever since the High Court awarded Galloway 150,000 after the paper alleged that he was in the pay of Saddam Hussein, its journalists are instructed to approach any stories about the controversial MP for Bethnal Green and Bow with extreme caution.

"We are usually told to avoid stories about Gorgeous George unless they are strictly necessary," my source tells me. "The line usually is that he is not worth the hassle."