Anti-war Galloway expelled from party

Rebel Labour MP George Galloway has been expelled from the party after being found guilty of bringing it into disrepute by his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq.

The Glasgow Kelvin MP was suspended in May following an interview with Abu Dhabi TV in which he accused Tony Blair and US President George Bush of invading Iraq "like wolves" and urging British troops not to obey "illegal orders".

The party's National Constitutional Committee upheld charges brought against Mr Galloway by Labour's leadership in what he denounced as a "political show trial".

The Stop The War Coalition, which mounted protests outside the committee meeting in support of Mr Galloway, said the expulsion was an "absolute disgrace".

Convenor Lindsey German told PA News: "George Galloway told the truth before, during and after the war with Iraq, whereas Tony Blair has told nothing but lies.

"It is disgraceful that the Labour party is penalising George Galloway and giving Tony Blair a standing ovation because that does not reflect the British people's views."

Geoff Martin, London convenor of Unison, said: "This will drive more people away from the Labour party and will make it more difficult to maintain the link between the party and trade unions."

Speaking outside the London hearing, Mr Galloway said the judgment had been "written in advance in the best traditions of political show trials". He said: "Mr Blair's response to the mistake of the war is to attack those who stood against the war and root them out of British politics."

The ruling would not prevent him or other critics of military action continuing to speak out, said Mr Galloway, an MP since 1987. He said he would definitely defend his position in Parliament and would stand as an independent against Labour if he had to.

The five charges faced by Mr Galloway were that he incited Arabs to attack British troops, that he urged British troops to defy orders, that he called on people in Plymouth not to support Labour candidates if they backed the war, that he congratulated a Socialist Alliance anti-war candidate who defeated Labour in Preston and that he threatened to stand against Labour himself. He was found guilty of four of the charges.

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