George Galloway

(Gorgeous George)

1954 -

Controversial politician, facetiously known as 'Gorgeous George'. Born in Dundee, Galloway was educated at the Harris Academy and began his career in the Michelin tyre plant in the city. He was Vice-Secretary of the local Labour Party aged 18 and his firebrand oratory soon saw him a career politician. As a Councillor, he played a key role in the controversial twinning of Dundee with Nablus on the West Bank. By 26 he was the youngest-ever Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party. In 1983 he became General Secretary of the charity 'War on Want' but was elected as Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead in 1987, a seat which had been Tory for generations. A maverick with a confrontational style, yet dogged by controversy throughout his career, Galloway was never popular with the Labour leadership. He remained a Glasgow MP until 2005 despite having been expelled from the party in 2003 for his comments on the Iraq War. Having founded the left-wing anti-war Respect Coalition, he sensationally ousted the sitting Labour MP in the London constituency of Bethnal and Bow in 2005. He was suspended from Parliament two years later but went on to win the Bradford West seat in 2012, with another sensational swing from Labour. Labour controversially regained the seat in the 2015 general election.

Galloway is perhaps best known for his opposition to the Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003, together with his campaign to end sanctions against Iraq. He visited Saddam Hussein in 1994, when he was controversially seen to praise him, and again in 2002. In a remarkable spectacle, he robustly defended himself to a committee of the US Senate in 2005 over charges that he had bought oil from the Iraqi regime.

Never slow to use the libel courts, his successes have included £155,000 from the Mirror Group in 1992 and £150,000 from the Daily Telegraph (2004).

Widely regarded as an entertaining and articulate parliamentarian, his passion for high-profile controversial campaigns ensures Galloway is rarely out of the media. His autobiography, I'm Not The Only One, appeared in 2004.

In 2006, he damaged his reputation by taking part in the television reality show Celebrity Big Brother.

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