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Thursday, 29 January 2015

George Galloway refers Tory MP's 'provocative comments' to the Speaker

The Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, has been referred to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, over comments he is alleged to have made about the Respect leader George Galloway’s appearance on the BBC's Question Time programme next Thursday.

George Galloway said: “He said to several Jewish media outlets and to local newspapers that it was provocative to have me on the programme when it was coming from Golders Green which has a high Jewish population. Well I’ve been assaulted three times in the last few months, including one serious one by a fanatical supporter of Israel, wearing an Israeli Defence Forces teeshirt, leading to his imprisonment. With two other assaults by people of a similar mind which saw them being fined. Freer’s comments are little short of inciting others to do the same."

Galloway added: “Anyone can walk and drive freely up the Golders Green Road. No one needs a pass from the government to do so and to get them through checkpoints, as Palestinians do on the West Bank. My opposition to Israel has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity. It’s about politics, the oppression of another people and the stealing of their land. No one, not Mike Freer or any Zionist fanatic, is going to stop me speaking my beliefs anywhere in this land.”

Text of George Galloway’s letter to the Speaker.

Mr Speaker,
I am writing to you about comments made to the press by the Honourable Member for Finchley and Golders Green.
Upon learning that I had been invited to be a panelist on BBC’s flagship Question Time programme next Thursday 5th Feburary, he said: “The BBC decision to invite George Galloway to Question Time in Finchley and Golders Green, which is home to one of largest Jewish communities in Britain, is nothing short of provocative.” Please see the link.
Since his comments were reported by Jewish News, this has been picked up by two other Jewish media outlets and by the local press.
Mr Freer’s comments are not only entirely unjustified given my long history of vehement opposition to any form of anti-Semitism, they question my right to freedom of speech on the state broadcaster. Worse than that, I regard these comments as highly provocative.
I was subject to a very serious assault by a fanatical supporter of Israel only a few months ago leading to his imprisonment, I have suffered two further assaults by people of similar mind recently resulting in them being fined and regularly receive Twitter and email threats from other fanatical Israel supporters. As such, the comments are at the very least highly irresponsible.
I am writing to you Mr Speaker both to alert you to this and to ask for your support against the atmosphere of intolerance and misrepresentation and the threat to my security that Mr Freer has sought to fuel.
With best wishes,

George Galloway MP