Galloway suffers the slings and arrows as he is hit by 'stress ball'

The latest bizarre episode in the life of George Galloway happened in public yesterday, when a rubber "stress ball" flung from an office window scored a direct hit on the MP as he campaigned in central London.

Mr Galloway, who is standing for a seat in the London Assembly, was on the upper deck of his open-topped battle bus when the missile caught him on the temple, leaving him dazed and bruised.

The ball was believed to have been thrown from the third-floor window of a block on Theobalds Road, Holborn. The police were called and a man was arrested. Scotland Yard said he was being held in custody last night.

Mr Galloway, who has survived expulsion from the Labour Party over his comments on the Iraq war as well as an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, where he famously pretended to be a cat while wearing a leotard, resumed campaigning after a cup of tea.

Today he is to tour Kingston, Wandsworth and Tooting. Mr Galloway's campaign organisers are said to see yesterday afternoon's incident as a potentially dangerous prank but to have little desire to pursue charges against the alleged perpetrator. The Sun newspaper's website quoted a friend of the arrested man who said it had been a "spur of the moment" act.

Mr Galloway said: "It was, of course, a shock. I have been out campaigning for the past two and a half weeks in the battle bus, and nothing like this has happened.

"We have had an extremely good response from voters and I certainly won't let this deter me from campaigning every day between now and the close of polls for the London Assembly on Thursday next week."

An aide, Kevin Ovenden, who was with Mr Galloway when he was hit, said: "George was on the top of his campaign bus with a dozen people including two very small children, up at the front with a microphone.

"He was hit on the left side of his head and was momentarily dazed. Because of the impact of the blow, he lost his balance and hit the other side of his head on the side of the bus. We stopped the bus and called the police."

Mr Ovenden described the missile as hard, hollow and slightly smaller than a tennis ball, and said it left Mr Galloway with a "nasty bruise" on the side of his head.

Mr Galloway, 53, has been the Respect Party MP for Bethnal Green and Bow since ousting the Labour MP Oona King in the 2005 general election.

Always a controversial figure – he marched alongside Gerry Adams to campaign against British policy in Ireland – Mr Galloway had, throughout the 1990s, argued vociferously for overturning sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime, and he also visited the dictator in Iraq.

He was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003 after expressing views that the party chairman, Ian McCartney, said "incited foreign forces to rise up against British troops". He also accused Tony Blair and US President George Bush of acting "like wolves" over Iraq.

Mr Galloway then helped found the anti-war party Respect in 2004. In December that year, he was awarded £150,000 in libel damages from The Daily Telegraph after suing the paper over articles which claimed he had received payments from Saddam Hussein's regime. He denied ever seeking or receiving money from the Iraqi government, and said he had long opposed it.

On his website, he says of his local election campaign: "The Assembly is meant to be London's government but virtually no one has ever heard of anybody on it. I want to change that."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent