Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

George Galloway Says: Hello Ladies! Hello Libel Law Débâcle!

with 15 comments

 Hello Ladies!  Go on say it, you know you want to!

We recently heard about George Galloway when he mysteriously disappeared from Socialist Worker’s list of top MP outside “earners” – he was number 3.

Thanks to the prompt action of Tendance Coatesy the SWP’s accidental oversight was swiftly corrected.

Now we learn that he may need every penny he snaffles from Russia Today, Press TV (Iran’s pro-regime broadcaster), not to mention two appearances on the Edinburgh Fringe (Register of Members’ Interests).

The old todger is now in yet another row:

Complaints to solicitors’ regulator over libel demands from Galloway’s lawyers.

Complaints have been sent to the Solicitors Regulation Authority by Twitter users who have received £6,000 libel demands from solicitors working for the MP George Galloway.

The bitter legal dispute, which has erupted over accusations of antisemitism, has become more complex after Galloway’s office said the money would only be used to cover his law firm’s expenses and the Respect party leader would not “receive a penny”.

Reports the Guardian.

Ho ho!

It’s only losers that are prosecuted.

A less respectful (geddit) report than the Guardian’s says the following,

George Galloway’s high street firm faces rough ride as media law big guns back twitterati in libel row

Top media lawyers have implored the profession’s watchdog to investigate George Galloway’s law firm over its handling of the MP’s defamation claims against Twitter users.

The backlash against Bradford high street outfit Chambers Solicitors — which is best known for immigration work — began earlier this week after the emergence of a Twitter account called @SuedByGalloway, which implores:

“If you’re being sued by Galloway/Chambers Solicitors/ don’t worry — follow us so we can help you.”

Since then, several media law big guns have been working with the account to assist those threatened by Galloway. Legal Cheek can confirm that at least three well-known London libel lawyers are currently helping the tweeters fight the MP rather than pay demands for up to £5,000.

They include Mark Lewis, the leading media lawyer from the News of the World phone hacking saga, and defamation doyen Mark Stephens.

Lewis, of London law firm Seddons, told Legal Cheek that the costs figure “could never be justified” and that a complaint will be sent to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The saga began when Chambers Solicitors — acting for the firebrand Respect Party MP for Bradford West — sent at least a dozen tweeters demands that they settle or face defamation proceedings.

Galloway — who was famously expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 following his vocal opposition to the second Iraq invasion before going on to appear on Celebrity Big Brother three years later — alleges that those receiving the claims labelled him anti-Semitic on the social media site.

Responding to the Bradford law firm’s tactics, Lewis told Legal Cheek:

“A lawyer’s duty is to stand up for people who cannot otherwise defend themselves from very threatening demands. Mr Galloway’s solicitors claimed £5,000 plus VAT for standard letters on top of damages. That is horrific and brings the solicitor’s profession into disrepute. Mr Galloway’s spokesman says that the letters weren’t shown to the client before they were sent. That is a matter of practise and the SRA must investigate.”

More on Legal Cheek.

Meanwhile the Huffington Post (Sarah C Nelson) looks at the previous story,

George Galloway ‘Anti- Semitism’ Lawyers To Be Reported To Regulator

A legal firm acting for Respect MP George Galloway will be reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), it has emerged.

The development comes as a number of people reported receiving letters written by Chambers Solicitors acting on behalf of Galloway, demanding up to £5,000 libel costs + VAT and requesting public apologies for allegedly calling him anti-semitic.

As the letters began to arrive, a Twitter account was set up to offer free legal advice for the recipients – which has since gained the backing of several high profile lawyers including solicitor and libel expert Mark Stephens and Mark Lewis.

Lewis, who was a leading figure in the News of the World hacking scandal confirmed to the Huffington Post UK that he would be making a complaint to the SRA on behalf of three clients on Wednesday.

Informing Legal Cheek the costs demanded in the letters “could never be justified”, he said: “A lawyer’s duty is to stand up for people who cannot otherwise defend themselves from very threatening demands. Mr Galloway’s solicitors claimed £5,000 plus VAT for standard letters on top of damages. That is horrific and brings the solicitor’s profession into disrepute.

“Mr Galloway’s spokesman says that the letters weren’t shown to the client before they were sent. This is a matter of practice and the SRA must investigate.”

In an earlier conversation with HuffPost UK, Lewis added: “By all means defend a reputation where it is proper to do so but do not go back to the days of chilling people from speaking out.”

As Galloway would no doubt reply, “I’m demanding that they be prosecuted. I’m begging them to be prosecuted for perjury.”


15 Responses

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  1. Yvonne Ridley, Lauren Booth, Myriam Francois Cerrah, etc are white western women converts who act as fronts for Islamicist organizations, bit like Galloway, who is also a convert but denies it.

    I am not sure whether it is Islamicist or simply ‘communalism’ as in India, where every religious community has its own party or candidates, and they block vote. curious to know what you think.


    March 4, 2015 at 11:18 pm

  2. It would be difficult for communalism to get off the ground in Britain, because we have a different social structure and history, ie the nature of class society. It is an Islamicist import. I have never heard of HIndus or Sikhs trying to set up their own parties. IN Edmonton, near to wehere I live, some African Pentacostal Christians have stood in elections in recent years, but that is a purely local thing.

    Sue R

    March 4, 2015 at 11:30 pm

  3. You’re very brave posting this.

    Re. “Galloway — who was famously expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 following his vocal opposition to the second Iraq invasion”…now, I would prefer to have read the real reason why he was expelled, as I’m sure it wasn’t about “opposition to war” as such, but it was published on Milne’s watch so I’m not surprised.

    dear reader, I libelled him

    March 5, 2015 at 12:47 am

  4. He has been disliked in the broader labour movement for years and years and years.


    For example,

    “George Galloway is strongly criticised in the forthcoming official history of War on Want, the organisation through which he shot to public prominence.

    He was general secretary of the anti-poverty charity from 1983 until becoming a Labour MP in 1987, a period described in Waging the War on Want as “among the most turbulent in War on Want’s history”.

    The authors, Mark Luetchford and Peter Burns, who both held positions at the charity, say that “even though the problems were not all of his own making, his way of dealing with them heightened tensions”.

    Their book, which will be published shortly, notes that the organisation expanded rapidly during Mr Galloway’s time in office but “there were grave problems associated with this rapid growth”.

    General income was kept in the same account as income for a group of foreign aid agencies managed by War on Want.

    In 1986 “it appeared that the organisation now had an income of £6.5 million a year, but around £3 million of this was consortia income”.

    Later, the Charity Commission said the accounts for the financial years ended March 31, 1985 to 1989 were “materially mis-stated”. Mr Galloway had been general secretary for the first three of those years.

    The commission said responsibility lay “to a large extent” with auditors and did not single out individuals for blame.

    The book calls the 1980s “a decade of rapid expansion followed by almost total collapse”.

    Of the MP’s time in office, it says “there were deep disagreements within the staff and within the council of management” and “council members were replaced by supporters of Galloway”.

    On becoming an MP, Mr Galloway resigned from his job at the charity, was then elected to its council but was persuaded not to take up office.

    “Most dangerously George Galloway left an organisation riven by conflict,” the authors write.

    There were swingeing cuts two years after he left. Mr Galloway’s time with the charity was marred by accusations that he ran up huge expenses by staying in expensive hotels in parts of the world racked by starvation and drought.

    He denied wrongdoing and repaid £1,720 in contested expenses. An independent auditor cleared him of misuse of funds.” 2003.


    Andrew Coates

    March 5, 2015 at 12:59 pm

  5. he’s a thoroughly reactionary, divisive and self-seeking shyster. he’s not a socialist by any possible definition: he’s a communalist and a Tammany Hall operator and small-time political thug. I would not for a moment publicly suggest that he has any issues with Jews – or even with people who are jew-ish.

    The likes of the SWP and Reese should hang their heads in shame for ever having given him house-room – never mind the way they cravenly sucked up to him.

    Jim Denham

    March 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm

  6. He also wears a Fedora indoors,

    Padraig Reidy / 5 March, 2015

    “TV presenter George Galloway has taken to wearing a black fedora, indoors. I know this, because I have seen him doing so on at least one of his TV shows.

    It’s a strange look, somewhere between a puffy Nathan Detroit, though combined with a black suit and white shirt, the hat also evokes Robert Mitchum’s chilling Harry Powell in Night of the Hunter.

    Why has George Galloway started wearing a hat indoors? What has taken hold of him? What kind of person wears a hat indoors anyway? The only people who really get away with being pictured in hats, indoors and out, are National Hunt trainers and rabbis. And come to think of it, you rarely see a National Hunt trainer indoors. They’re usually outside, training horses, or watching horse races or being interviewed about how well (or sometimes poorly) their horse did in the race.

    I can say with relative certainty that Galloway is not a National Hunt trainer. I am a bit more nervous about declaring whether or not he is a rabbi. Issues between George and some Jewish people being fraught of late, I would not like anyone to think that an assertion of Galloway’s non-rabbiness was a suggestion of anything else……”


    Andrew Coates

    March 5, 2015 at 5:45 pm

  7. @Jim “I would not for a moment publicly suggest that he has any issues” whatsoever. People have been sued for libel, by all kinds of people, for much lesser things (also those things written on blogs).

    Have left-wing groups ever got solicitor’s letters over things they have written about supposedly left-wing MPs? (THAT is a very rhetorical question and this blog is certainly not the place to discuss it)


    March 5, 2015 at 5:56 pm

  8. Btw: this: https://twitter.com/jayrayner1/status/565207548476018688 reminds me very much of a previous case in which I was somehow unwittingly involved and I would be interested to know if republishing that which you claim to be libellous, and, indeed, to far more people that would have read it originally – if it were not for your own republishing (here: retweeting) – and at the same time taking any kind of legal action against others for doing exactly the same as you did (here: retweeting) – does this represent some kind of vexatious litigation (otherwise known as ‘taking the piss and possibly being malicious’)?


    The tweet reads: “So @HadleyFreeman I have a screenshot of George Rting the thing he is threatening to sue people for RTing. If you ever need it” from @JayRayner1 (another Guardian hack?)


    March 5, 2015 at 6:04 pm

  9. Yes it is a rhetorical question.


    I do think Galloway is an utter toad for this, but it seems just part of the craze to track down everything people say on Twitter.

    The papers in the UK follow UKIP nutters, in France it’s the Front National.

    A pretty easy way for journalists to get a story.

    Andrew Coates

    March 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm

  10. Laughing at the Padraig Reidy quote.

    In the past, National Hunt trainers were probably routinely anti-Semitic, but I suspect they are much less so now in line with the general realignment in Britain and the shift in where anti-Semitism mostly comes from.


    March 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

  11. Heard Napoleon ranting about the BBC recently. The sort of shit you expect to hear from ‘Kippers.

  12. He is quite a patriot isn’t he Redkorat?

    But like the UKIP ‘patriots’ his first refuge is being a scoundrel.

    Andrew Coates

    March 6, 2015 at 5:48 pm

  13. Galloway’s sectarian politics are quite horrible and have had a malevolent effect in Britain. He’s careful to use the “Z” word – but his followers will quite easily translate it into the J”” one.

    “I recently spent a day in the city’s central square asking people what they think of Israel and the Jews. Without fail, every white respondent I put the question to expressed indifference. “Galloway is stirring up tensions between different races to get the Muslim vote,” a middle-aged printing mechanic told me. Others agreed. “These white MPs are going after the Muslim vote by whipping them up with the Jews,” grumbled a twenty-something product designer. But some others, particularly younger Asian Muslims, took a more troubling view. An asylum seeker from Iraq told me he voted for Galloway because “he tells the truth about the Jews.” Passing a joint between them, two youths in hoods explained: “It’s all about 9/11 and Bush and how they did that to get at Iraq and Afghanistan and all that. People are angry with the Jews for terrorizing Muslims all over the world. That’s what we were told in the community.” Two law students, one heavily made-up in a hijab, were even more strident; “Those Jews, they are worse than Hitler those Jews, they are murdering and massacring children, the Jews, they deserve whatever they get.”


    March 7, 2015 at 11:36 am

  14. Lucky that Bradford is judenrein, as it would be most upsetting to meet anyone ‘worse than Hitler’.

  15. It is common, in my experience, for Muslims to say ‘the Jews’ without any nuance about ‘Zionists’, when they’re saying what they really think.

    Andrew Coates

    March 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm

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