George Galloway sworn in as Rochdale MP and says Commons has declined since he was first elected in 1980s – UK politics live

1 month ago

George Galloway says Commons has declined since he was elected in 1980s

George Galloway is giving a press conference now outside St Stephen’s entrance at the House of Commons.

He says he has served longer in the Commons that Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer put together.

He says staff at the Commons have been welcoming to him, even if other MPs have not. But none of them have behaved badly.

He says the place has declined since he was first elected in 1987. In those days there were 100 MPs in the Commons who were prominent “figures in the land”. But that is not the case now, he says.

He says he hopes to speak on Wednesday, either in PMQs or in the budget debate.

He says he has a lot to say. He says the country is at a dangerous point, perhaps similar to what it faced in 1940. But there is no Churchill figure to remedy the situation.

The country is facing problems like child poverty. Rochdale used to be one of the richest towns in the country. He says he wants to make it great again.

In particular, he wants to save the football club, he says.

He wants to reopen the open air market. And he wants to bring a maternity unit to the town. He says it is a town where you cannot be born, you cannot die, and you cannot be locked up.

He says Rochdale should have its own postcode. At the moment it has an Oldham postcade. But the letter R is available; the town should get it, he says.

Key events

Galloway says he will run candidate against Angela Rayner at general election, and claims he could cost Labour many seats

Galloway claims the fact that journalists have turned up for his al fresco press conference show that they realise he is not just a one-off, and that he represents a large number of people.

He says Angela Rayner has a majority of just 3,000. But there are 15,000 people in her constituency who support his point of view. He says he will put up a candidate against her – either a Workers Party of Britain candidate, or someone with the same point of view.

And he says there are many other constituencies that are similar,

There are many constituencies in London … Bethnal Green in the heart of the City of London, in Birmingham, in other parts of the West Midlands, in north-west England, in the towns around Rochdale, Oldham, Blackburn, Burnley, Nelson, Bury.

We’ll be putting candidates up in all these places and we will either win or we’ll make sure that Keir Starmer doesn’t win.

George Galloway speaking to the media outside the House of Parliament.
George Galloway speaking to the media outside the House of Parliament. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Galloway says Rishi Sunak is using protest as a wedge issue.

He says Sunak is trying to force Keir Starmer to either stand up for the right to protest, or to defend the crackdown being planned by the government.

The next election will be about Muslims, he claims, and about the taking away of civil liberties in this country.

Galloway is now taking questions.

He says his first speech will be about Gaza. He says genocide is taking place there. He says journalists do not accept that. But if he had been standing for election in 1940 and 1941, he would have been entitled to campaign on the Holocaust, he says.

George Galloway says Commons has declined since he was elected in 1980s

George Galloway is giving a press conference now outside St Stephen’s entrance at the House of Commons.

He says he has served longer in the Commons that Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer put together.

He says staff at the Commons have been welcoming to him, even if other MPs have not. But none of them have behaved badly.

He says the place has declined since he was first elected in 1987. In those days there were 100 MPs in the Commons who were prominent “figures in the land”. But that is not the case now, he says.

He says he hopes to speak on Wednesday, either in PMQs or in the budget debate.

He says he has a lot to say. He says the country is at a dangerous point, perhaps similar to what it faced in 1940. But there is no Churchill figure to remedy the situation.

The country is facing problems like child poverty. Rochdale used to be one of the richest towns in the country. He says he wants to make it great again.

In particular, he wants to save the football club, he says.

He wants to reopen the open air market. And he wants to bring a maternity unit to the town. He says it is a town where you cannot be born, you cannot die, and you cannot be locked up.

He says Rochdale should have its own postcode. At the moment it has an Oldham postcade. But the letter R is available; the town should get it, he says.

George Galloway takes seat in Commons

George Galloway has taken his seat in the Commons (a term used to mean that he has sworn the oath of allegiance, and as a result is entitled to take his seat – like all MPs taking their seat, he never actually sat down, and he left the chamber straight afterwards).

He was escorted into the Commons by Sir Peter Bottomley, the Conservative MP who is father of the house, and Neale Hanvey, the leader of the Alba party (Alex Salmond’s fringe Scottish nationalist party), who were acting as his sponsors.

George Galloway is sworn in as MP for Rochdale in House of Commons – video
George Galloway arriving at Parliament today. He will take his seat in the Commons at 2.30pm.
George Galloway arriving at Parliament today. He will take his seat in the Commons at 2.30pm. Photograph: Future Publishing/Getty Images

Scrap plans to scan accounts of benefit claimants or risk new scandal, MPs told

Plans for automated surveillance of millions of bank accounts to catch welfare cheats should be scrapped, campaigners have said, warning the approach risks a repeat of the Post Office Horizon scandal. Robert Booth has the story.

Rishi Sunak visiting the Panattoni development site in Swindon this morning where he 'broke ground' with members of the Panattoni senior management team including CEO & Co-Owner Europe, UK and India Robert Dobrzycki.
Rishi Sunak visiting the Panattoni development site in Swindon this morning where he 'broke ground' with members of the Panattoni senior management team including CEO & Co-Owner Europe, UK and India Robert Dobrzycki. Photograph: Simon Walker/No 10 Downing Street

George Osborne, the Tory former chancellor, claimed in his podcast last week that there has been “friction” between No 10 and the Treasury in the run-up to the budget. And in the Sunday Times yesterday Tim Shipman wrote:

There have, however, been broader tensions between Hunt and No 10. “Rishi doesn’t think Jeremy is as clever as him, and his team think Hunt isn’t imaginative enough,” a Whitehall source said. “Hunt is resentful that he doesn’t get invited to the morning meetings and that he cut £22 billion in tax last year and he got no credit, because No 10 immediately started talking up tax cuts this year.”

Hunt had privately talked up plans to make a major move to make housing more affordable, but Sunak vetoed changes to stamp duty. Now, it is understood, the budget contains no major measures to appeal to younger voters struggling to get on the housing market.

One official said: “Jeremy’s just a bit absent really. He isn’t really in the room for the big decisions and spends most of the time tweeting about Surrey.” Another said: “We have no strategy because 10 and 11 don’t talk: 10 talks up tax cuts and then 11 has to talk them down. Honestly, it’s a mess.”

At the No 10 lobby briefing, asked if Rishi Sunak thought that Jeremy Hunt was timid, or lacked imagination, the PM’s spokesperson replied:

Absolutely not. The chancellor is working very closely with the prime minister to deliver our plan for the economy and obviously the chancellor will be setting out further measures in line with that on Wednesday at the budget.

Russia’s leak of a conversation by German military officers involving details of British operations on the ground in Ukraine is “worrying on a number of levels”, Tobias Ellwood, the former chairman of the Commons defence committee, has said.

Dan Sabbagh and Kate Connolly have written about the leak here.

Ellwood told the Today programme this morning:

This interception and the leak of military planning discussion is worrying on a number of decibel levels.

Firstly, why the obvious, why wasn’t basic concept protocols followed? But it also revealed a tension, I think, between senior German military who want to see Taurus dispatched and the German Chancellor, who seems increasingly focused on his political survival rather than what’s best for the continent. And it’s also how this plays out in Germany.

At the No 10 lobby briefing this morning the PM’s spokesperson said investigating the leak was “a matter for Germany”, which remained “a very close Nato ally”. As PA Media reports, the spokesperson declined to comment on UK operations in Ukraine, beyond saying there was a “small number of troops” providing protection for British diplomats and training for Ukrainian forces.

Read Full Article at Source