The maverick Glasgow MP George Galloway will tomorrow face the prospect of being expelled from the Labour Party after he called Tony Blair and George Bush "wolves" for invading Iraq.
Mr Galloway, suspended from the party for calling on British soldiers not to obey "illegal" orders in Iraq, has said he will stand as an independent at the next election if Labour rejects him. A party committee of inquiry has been set up to examine Mr Galloway's behaviour and whether his comments brought the party into disrepute.
Mr Galloway, who was abroad yesterday, is expected to say he was exercising his right to freedom of expression and articulating strongly held personal views. Many MPs and officials who want him out say he uses the party as a "flag of convenience" to pursue a separate agenda.
The MP, who met Saddam Hussein in Iraq before the war and was filmed saying he saluted the dictator, campaigned against the war. He also predicted American and British troops would face suicide bombers and guerrilla actions after the regime fell.
Mr Galloway, elected as a Glasgow MP in 1987, has just settled a libel action against the Christian Science Monitor journal, which said he had received secret payments of huge sums from the Iraqi regime. He plans to use the substantial proceeds of his win, undisclosed as part of the settlement, to fund a libel action against The Daily Telegraph, which also claimed he had funds from Iraq.
If he is ejected from the Labour Party he will be able to remain in the Commons but not on Labour benches. It is unlikely he will want to join any other main political parties, or that they would accept him.
Mr Galloway could also face the abolition of his Glasgow seat if the Government presses ahead with plans to redraw the electoral boundaries in Scotland. If they come to fruition he will have to fight neighbouring Labour MPs for the new seat of Glasgow Central. Mr Galloway is confident he could win it as an independent, because it has many Muslims who backed him on Iraq.Reuse content