Belfast Telegraph

George Galloway's 'time for united Ireland' tweet angers novelist Neville

By Brett Campbell

George Galloway has been blasted for "hypocrisy" and "bigotry" after a fiery row on social media in which the controversial left-wing politician told a local author Northern Ireland had no place in the UK.

The war of words ignited late on the Eleventh Night, when award-winning crime novelist and screenwriter Stuart Neville retweeted the firebrand politician's claim that it was "time for a United Ireland".

"There's no place in a modern Britain for a sectarian province like 'Northern Ireland' let alone governing us," Mr Galloway wrote on Twitter.

The online spat prompted Mr Neville, the author of The Twelve, which featured in the New York Times' Best of 2009, to brand Mr Galloway a "horrible bigot" after the former Labour MP told him that, despite his British passport, he was not British.

The Armagh writer, who has since apologised for his "unusually sweary" tweets, replied: "This right here is naked sectarianism and bigotry. You don't get to define my nationality."

But Mr Galloway seemed unaware who Stuart Neville was.

"Must check him out, has he said much of about the KKK running your streets right now?" he wrote after being told he was an author.

When asked by another user about the "one million unionists" in the region who wish to remain part of the UK, Mr Galloway wrote: "We don't want them."

The former Respect MP, whose party is now defunct, was also severely critical of a racist reference to Celtic footballer Scott Sinclair that appeared on a bonfire in east Belfast.

But Mr Neville attacked him for using blanket statements and accused him of using the "actions of a minority... to smear the entire population".

The controversial broadcaster also seemed to deliberately conflate the behaviour of a few loyalists with the DUP.

"The 'ulster' 'loyalists' are not fit and proper people to be governing Great Britain and it's about time Mrs May was told so," he wrote.

"British people will not accept being ruled by the filth on display today, nor should they."

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley accused Mr Galloway of hypocrisy and questioned his silence over a giant banner attacking the DUP at London Pride last weekend.

"He was quite happy to rant on Tuesday night, but he was remarkably silent on Saturday when a banner was carried through London which declared, 'F*** the DUP'," Mr Paisley told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I [take] everything Mr Galloway says with a pinch of salt - did he miss this or does he think that all expressions of abuse against the DUP are acceptable?

"He's just a man of double standards, unelected and possibly unelectable."

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