Galloway settles libel case over Iraq

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George Galloway MP accepted undisclosed libel damages and a public apology yesterday over an article which claimed he opposed the conflict in Iraq because he had been paid by Saddam Hussein's regime.

George Galloway MP accepted undisclosed libel damages and a public apology yesterday over an article which claimed he opposed the conflict in Iraq because he had been paid by Saddam Hussein's regime.

The independent MP for Glasgow Kelvin was in the High Court to hear his solicitor, Mark Bateman, tell Mr Justice Eady that allegations published in The Christian Science Monitor last April were "false and without foundation".

Mr Bateman said the newspaper, based in Boston but available online in the UK, founded its allegations on documents given to a journalist by an Iraqi general. These purported to show that Mr Galloway had received more than $10m (£5.4m) in return for "courageous and daring stands against the enemies of Iraq", including Tony Blair. Mr Bateman said: "The allegations were highly defamatory. Understandably, they caused immense distress and anxiety."

On 20 June The Christian Science Monitor published an article accepting the document was a forgery, and apologised to Mr Galloway. Mr Bateman said it had already set the record straight in its internet edition, had agreed to maintain that correction and had appeared in court to apologise publicly. The newspaper's publisher, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, accepted everything said on Mr Galloway's behalf.

Mr Galloway said after the hearing that the damages were "substantial", and he called on Mr Blair to instruct the embassy in Baghdad to investigate the forged papers.

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