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'Mayor' George would back Palestine


Ex-MP George Galloway seeks election as the next Mayor of London

Ex-MP George Galloway seeks election as the next Mayor of London

Ex-MP George Galloway seeks election as the next Mayor of London

George Galloway has said he will use his position to rally support for the Palestinian cause if he succeeds in his campaign to become mayor of London.

The Respect Party leader said he would not call for the city to be an "Israel-free zone" as he did in Bradford when he was an MP there.

But he said that he would use the mayoralty to promote his "moral position" on the conflict in the Middle East.

"The mayor is not the pope and the mayor is not the president and he is not the prime minister or the foreign secretary," he told the BBC1 Sunday Politics programme.

"Of course, it's unimplementable. It is a moral position and my moral position on Palestine is well known.

"It would certainly be my aim to encourage the huge swell of pro-Palestinian support in London. Palestine has more supporters in London than anywhere else in the country."

The maverick left winger announced that he would be standing in next year's mayoral election after he lost his Bradford West parliamentary seat to Labour in last month's general election.

He said that the party which he used to represent before he was expelled over his outspoken attacks on Tony Blair was now worried his candidacy could ruin its chances of taking back the mayoralty from the Conservatives.

"I think the Labour hopefuls are all extremely anxious about it. I have an appeal to traditional Labour people of whom there are many millions in London," he said.

"My pitch is that we need someone to speak for the great majority of London, not just those that are dripping in gold."

He suggested however that he could stand aside if Labour picked Diane Abbott as its candidate.

"She is a long-time comrade of mine," he said. "I will certainly fight all the others that are in the race."

Mr Galloway also defended his support for Lutfur Rahman, the controversial former mayor of Tower Hamlets in East London, who was removed from office after being found guilty of electoral fraud.

"I think that he was very unjustly treated," he said.