The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
May 31, 2003 Labour is trying to gag me, says barred Galloway By A Scotland Correspondent http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,635-697779,00.html GEORGE GALLOWAY, the MP suspended by Labour over anti-war remarks in an Arab TV interview, yesterday accused party chiefs of gagging him by barring him from a meeting in his constituency. Last night’s meeting of the general committee of Mr Galloway’s Glasgow Kelvin constituency had been due to hear the MP and discuss the implications of his suspension. But the “bitterly disappointed” MP said that as he was on his way to Heathrow Airport to fly to Glasgow, the constituency party secretary received a letter saying he could not attend. The letter, from David Triesman, Labour’s General Secretary, was posted second-class and said that Mr Galloway was not entitled to attend Labour meetings because of his suspension, the MP said. “On the day when the papers are full of the lies, forgeries, deceptions and dirty tricks employed to fool Britain into war, I was looking forward to explaining for the first time to my own party members the true nature of the campaign against me”, he said. He added that the meeting came in the run-up to candidate selection procedures for the new seat of Glasgow Central. Mr Galloway’s present seat is set to disappear under boundary changes and the MP has declared his readiness to stand for the new seat as an independent if he is drummed out of Labour or barred from seeking selection as Labour’s candidate. The MP was suspended by Labour chiefs after remarks he reportedly made in TV interviews, including an interview with Abu Dhabi TV in which he described Tony Blair and George Bush as “wolves” attacking Iraq. He said of the ban: “I think it’s extraordinary, and the constituency party are disappointed too. “The meeting will go ahead, and I think the members will be very angry about this.” He said the letter told him he was not entitled to attend any Labour party meetings because of his suspension from the party. “The meeting was specially called to discuss my suspension and to hear from me about what has been happening,” he said. “This would have been my first opportunity to speak to my own party members.” Mark Craig, the chairman of the Glasgow Kelvin constituency party, said before last night’s meeting: “It would have been better if he had been able to attend and speak directly to the members of the constituency party, but it will still go ahead and we will discuss the issue. “I regret the decision the party has taken. George is a member of the general committee, and the letter we received was rather vague. “He is still a Labour party member, and we thought that he would still be entitled to attend and speak, but we received the letter at the very last minute.” A Labour party spokesman said: “George Galloway is being treated no differently to any member who has been suspended administratively. “Mr Galloway is not allowed to represent the party. “As such, he is not permitted to attend general committee meetings of his constituency party, or all-member meetings. “Mr Galloway was informed of this on May 6.” The spokesman went on: “The party is now looking as quickly as possible into the complaints about comments Mr Galloway reportedly made, and into the allegations that he acted in a way that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party’s interests.” Copyright 2003 Times Newspapers Ltd. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk