Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Simon Carr

Simon Carr: The recess was over – and the Commons returned with a roar

The Sketch: What's this? George Galloway promising to bear true allegiance to her Majesty the Queen?

Education questions proceeded in an unusually depressing way. What a picture this occasion creates of the country's children – illiterate, innumerate, and more often than not pregnant. It's the lack of Personal Relationship Training, no doubt. Towards the end of the session, the new MP for Bradford West arrived in the House in a swirl of wicked glamour. The Press Gallery filled up to see him. Not since Enoch Powell have we been blessed with such a presence.

He stood at the Bar of the House with Sir Peter Tapsell, the one vying with the other for best suit. Labour's loathing rose around him like votive incense.

He came forward to the despatch box to be greeted by that magnificent piece of parliamentary machinery Robert Rogers, the Clerk of the House who required of him his Certificate. And then he affirmed.

That had its own piquancy, George Galloway promising to bear true allegiance to her Majesty the Queen and all her heirs and successors. George Galloway's fealty to the Queen. Was he being completely sincere?

He didn't swear by almighty God but affirmed and solemnly undertook. Even that sent a shiver round the House. What a voice he has, halfway between a growl and a caress. What was that he said the last time he commanded the Commons? Something about Britain's relationship with America?

"Like Monica Lewinsky's relationship with Bill Clinton. Disreputable! Dishonourable! And always on our knees!" Order! Order!

"I never listen to you any more George," I say to him. "You speak so well I might end up believing the **** you believe." It is the trouble with great orators – and truth to tell, no one speaks better than George Galloway – their voice gets inside your head and suddenly you find yourself giving all your money to the poor or demanding a race war. Luckily he doesn't come to the Commons much so we have time to recover between each eletrifying occasion.