Papers are stolen from Galloway's house in Portugal

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Indy Politics

George Galloway has suffered a mysterious break-in at his Algarve holiday home, with burglars taking the first draft of his memoirs but leaving behind a stereo and other valuables, including an extensive drinks collection.

The maverick Labour MP's computer and a desk full of private papers were also taken. The MP for Glasgow Kelvin, who was in the UK at the time, believes the burglars may try to sell some papers to the media.

Mr Galloway has begun libel proceedings against The Daily Telegraph and the Christian Science Monitor, an American paper, which alleged he received substantial sums of money from Saddam Hussein's regime. He denies the accusation.

The MP said he was convinced it was not an opportunistic break-in. The burglars, who left no fingerprints, forced their way through security shutters but then appear to have repaired the damage and resecured the house, leaving no sign of a break-in.

"I thought the place was impregnable," Mr Galloway said. "It's a very professional job and they consciously took things of lesser value than others. There were 15,000 words of my book, but I hadn't got to the interesting part yet."

Mr Galloway, whose links to Saddam Hussein's regime are being investigated by the Labour Party, which wants to expel him over his outspoken opposition to the invasion of Iraq, said the thieves would have had to use a four-wheel drive vehicle since the property was difficult to get to.

The break-in is being investigated by Portuguese police.