George Galloway: You ask the questions

The Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow on his 'humiliation' on 'Big Brother'
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The Independent Online

Why did you salute Saddam Hussein and praise his son on film, knowing they were murderers? RICHARD NEIL, HADLEIGH, ESSEX

I didn't and I didn't. Check the thousands of statements I've made on this, none of which have penetrated the thickets of the Essex hinterland or your prejudices.

Would you rule out rejoining the Labour Party if it rediscovered socialism? NIGEL ADAMS, CHISWICK

If the present leadership was removed and if the party rediscovered what it was formed for, everyone on the left would reconsider. I don't believe in the tooth fairy, either.

Can Respect make progress as the Iraq war fades in public memory? TERENCE HICKMAN, BERMONDSEY

Fading? I don't think so. The war - and the war in Afghanistan - is still top of the news agenda, as this newspaper's recent coverage of the five British coffins returning proves. But Respect isn't a single-issue party and, as our results in Tower Hamlets and elsewhere prove, Respect is growing and glowing.

How damaging to your career and your causes was your humiliation on Celebrity Big Brother, and do you regret being in it? SARAH BELL, POOLE, DORSET

I don't regret it and I reject your interpretation. I raised a lot of money for a Palestinian charity, my fee went to hiring two additional constituency workers and supporting Respect. And I never say never.

Do you think the British (and/or US) government had a hand in the events that led to your libel cases against the Telegraph and the Wall St Journal? Do you hold them responsible for other accusations, such as those about alleged irregularities at the Mariam fund? AOIFE BRENNAN, LONDON SW2

Of course they did. Check Hansard for my adjournment debate on this. There were no financial irregularities nor accusations, not even allegations, over the Mariam Appeal. The books were vetted and passed by the Charities Commission.

As one of your constituents, I would like to know what your view of gay marriage is. NADEEM TARIQ, LONDON E3

I'm in favour of gay partnerships.

What is your reply to critics who say Respect exploits the politics of race as much as the British National Party? ELISA BYRNE, BOLTON

You are the first and shame on you. We are a coalition of white and non-white, religious and not. What we all have is a hatred of race politics and a belief in the values which informed the old Labour party.

What would you say to the family of a British serviceman killed in Iraq? GWEN ROSSITER, LIVERPOOL

I have lost loved ones and experienced overwhelming grief. I would offer my sincere condolences and if the family asked who was responsible I would point to the inescapable, Bush and Blair.

You've pledged solidarity with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Are you not seeking opportunities to profit from an oil-rich tyrant? JASON CONNOR, RICHMOND

Is this the same Hugo Chavez who was popularly elected and suffered a US-inspired coup against him? The country is inestimably better off for his arrival. I've never had contact with him.

What is your proudest political achievement? And your biggest regret? J LINTON, STEYNING, SUSSEX

Being a leader of the anti-war movement and failing to stop the war.

If Tony Blair had argued for regime change in Iraq rather than based his case on WMD, would you have supported military action? MIRIAM SCOTT, BRIGHTON

No. I don't believe in illegal flouting of international law and mass murder.

Would you swap your Mercedes S class limousine for something more environmentally friendly? DP CAMPBELL, SWANSEA

It's 10 years old, it has done almost 200,000 miles and, yes, I will be.

How do you explain your parliamentary expenses claims being one of the highest among MPs, with your attendance record being one of the worst? DAMIAN PALMER, GLASGOW

It's not true. I wasn't among the highest and the expenses you refer to were when I was a Glasgow MP, the bulk of which were for travel and living. I'm in the House every day, I don't vote for Tony Blair's foregone conclusions, except where they are central to my politics.

How often do you hold MP surgeries in your constituency? JONATHAN TOAL, HACKNEY

Every Friday afternoon.

What happens to the money you make from speaking tours, TV appearances and libel actions? CHARLES ELDRIDGE, GUILDFORD, SURREY

It goes the same way as the Big Brother fee, into subsidising my political activities.

Would you like to edit The Sun for a day? MARTIN VAL BAKER, PENZANCE

I would love to edit The Sun for a day. I'd be a lot better than Bono and I wouldn't wear sunglasses indoors.

Why do you still claim to be on the left when you court reactionaries and Islamofascists? PAUL BROWN, LONDON N8

I'm surprised you're even allowed to read The Indy. You're confusing me with someone in an exclusive central London address, for whom the furniture vans are revving up, and who history will condemn as a mass murderer.

What is the state of play with the US Senate investigation into your alleged dealings with Saddam? ALAN MCWILLIAM, BRIXTON, LONDON

Gone quiet. Hardly surprising since after all that urine and wind there still isn't a scintilla of evidence.

As a defender of free speech, would you have been happy to see the Mohamed cartoons published in this country? N AHMED, EAST ANGLIA

No. They were crudely racist. If I can quote George Clooney: "I'm all for free speech. But I'm not too sure about it when someone comes into a crowded cinema and screams 'Fire'."

Was the Nato campaign to defend Kosovar Muslims against Serb aggression justified? F RANDHAWA, WALTHAMSTOW

If it had been it might have been. But it wasn't.

Who is the second greatest export from Dundee? JOHN MCMANUS, GLASGOW

I'm way down the pecking order. After the actor Brian Cox, and footballers Charlie Cooke and Alan Gilzean (both adopted Dundonians), plus Muhammad Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee and Crocodile, who obviously had some problems on the River Tay.

You have an attachment to well-tailored suits and a bronzed face. How does a moustache fit the image and would you get rid of it? CAROL HAMILTON, BAYSWATER

I'm sporting a rather natty beard now.

Which woman in the world would you most like to meet and why? DYLAN HARRISON, READING

Rosa Luxembourg. Her words "socialism or barbarism" still get my blood coursing.

Which living person do you most admire? PHILLIP LAMMING, LEICESTER

Fidel Castro. I'm in Cuba finishing a book on him which is out on 1 October, published by MQ. I recommend it.

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