George Galloway was not expelled from Labour for opposing the Iraq war

Evening Standard interview repeats a common falsehood


An interview with London mayoral candidate George Galloway in the Evening Standard repeats a common falsehood about the ex-MP.

The piece, published yesterday, says:

“There’s talk that Galloway would like to re-enter the Labour fold — he was expelled in 2003 for ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ over his opposition to the Iraq war.”

The phrase ‘over his opposition to the Iraq war’ is used about Galloway routinely in every news outlet in the land.

However, it is false – or at best, very subjective.

Galloway was found guilty by a tribunal set up by the Labour party’s National Constitutional Committee in October 2003 of the following charges:

· he incited Arabs to fight British troops
· he incited British troops to defy orders
· he threatened to stand against Labour
· he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston

He was cleared of a fifth charge, that of ‘inciting Plymouth voters to reject Labour MPs’. Some of the charges related to a speech he had given to Abu Dhabi TV. As the Guardian reported:

“Mr Galloway told Abu Dhabi TV that the war in Iraq was illegal and urged British troops not to obey ‘illegal orders’.

And he asked: ‘Why don’t Arabs do something for the Iraqis? Where are the Arab armies? We wonder when the Arab leaders wake up? When are they going to stand by the Iraqi people?'”

Galloway denied all the charges, including that of calling for attacks on British troops, saying he was questioning why Arab regimes continued to supply Britain and the US with oil.

However, the phrase ‘Where are the Arab armies?’ suggests otherwise, since armies do not control oil exports.

After a two-day session looking at Galloway’s statements and actions, NCC panel chair Rose Burley said:

“the unanimous decision of the panel of the national constitutional committee found four of the five charges brought against Mr Galloway proven and the decision of the panel was that Mr Galloway be expelled from membership of the Labour party forthwith.”

Galloway also warned that other anti-war MPs would be next, naming Glenda Jackson and Bob Marshall-Andrews QC. However, no other MPs were charged with these actions.

Several Labour MPs were opposed to or critical of the Iraq war, including cabinet ministers like Robin Cook, who resigned on the point, and Clare Short, who campaigned against the war after she left office.

The assertion that Galloway was expelled from the Labour party ‘over his opposition to the Iraq war’ is at best subjective, and is inconsistent with the party’s decision and the experience of other members of parliament.

As NCC chairman Ian McCartney said at the time, the proceedings ‘came in direct response to an unprecedented number of complaints from party members and members of the public.’ He added:

“The issue here is a very simple one. George Galloway incited foreign forces to rise up against British troops at a time when they were risking their lives.

“He was the only Labour MP to do this and he has never taken back or apologised for these comments.

“Any reasonable person would have been disgusted by this incitement and I believe the NCC reached the right verdict today.”

Galloway went on to stand against Labour as a Respect party candidate on three occasions: first in Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005, when he was successful, then in Poplar and Limehouse in 2010 when he came third, and again in a Bradford West by-election in 2012, which he won. He was defeated in this year’s general election by Labour’s Naz Shah MP.


Like this article? Support our work: donate here.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Sign up for our weekly email by clicking here.

17 Responses to “George Galloway was not expelled from Labour for opposing the Iraq war”

  1. vuroyeh

    Trust own leftfootforward If you wana get a reasonable income through laptop and if you have a reliable internet connection then you should be able to know how you make your income by laptop.this is very simple to know just vist my website
    and sign up there for more details
    http:// TipsForYou

  2. treborc

    I see no issues with Galloway coming back and being allowed to stand as an MP’ let the people decide if they want him.

    Blair or Galloway easy one that one Galloway, Brown or Galloway easy again Galloway , Galloway or Osborne well I would not expect Galloway to get that far within the party Osborne , I would vote Corbyn all day.

    But labour is not a functioning party at the moment it’s split and it is badly damaged .

    I see labour have now elected a whole pile of progress types within the internal groups within labour, which means that Corbyn is going to need all the people he can get to protect his back.

  3. Allan D.

    Galloway has stood against Labour in 4 elections since 2005 abusing his Labour opponent especially viciously in 2015 questioning her claims that she had been the unwilling subject (at 15) of an arranged marriage in Pakistan:

    He also spoke in favour of the former Mayor of Tower Hamlets who was subsequently removed from his office by the High Court and claimed that the campaign against him, which Labour supported, was driven by racism and Islamophobia:

  4. Ruth Ben-Or

    You would vote Corbyn all day? If the Labour Party is sufficiently desperate to sell votes for £3, I’m sure they won’t mind some repeat business!

  5. David Lindsay

    George Galloway’s decision to take out the lease on a vintage clothes shop indicates that he is looking for an excuse to withdraw from the race for Mayor of London. He launched that campaign before there was the slightest suggestion that Jeremy Corbyn, who was one of his character witnesses against expulsion from the Labour Party, might ever become that party’s Leader.

    If it were not for that campaign, then Galloway would already be back in the Labour Party, and he would be preparing to contest a by-election in that interest as a small business owner. There was very strong support from that quarter for his successful campaigns at Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005, and at Bradford West in 2012.

    He is already more of a functioning Labour Party member than several people who were in the Shadow Cabinet two months ago.

Comments are closed.