UK Parliament suspends lawmaker accused of Saddam links

George Galloway remains defiant after investigation finds charity he set up was partly funded by the Iraqi dictator.

george galloway 88 (photo credit: )
george galloway 88
(photo credit: )
The British Parliament's lower house on Monday suspended a lawmaker accused of concealing his financial dealings with Saddam Hussein's government. George Galloway, known for his fierce opposition to Britain's role in the invasion of Iraq, was suspended for 18 days, following an investigation which found that a charity he set up was partly funded by the Iraqi dictator. The decision, which was made without a vote, followed a recommendation from a parliamentary disciplinary panel that investigated the charity. The suspension followed a tirade by Galloway, who accused his opponents of hypocrisy. "Being lectured by the current House of Commons on the question of the funding of political campaigns is like being accused of having bad taste by Donald Trump, like being accused of slouching by the Hunchback of Notre Dame," Galloway said. "None of the parties here, and all three of them are culpable, ever asked the millionaires and billionaires who gave them and lent them money where they got the money from," he said. Galloway was ordered to leave the legislature after the house speaker, Michael Martin, complained he was abusing the good character of its members. Galloway vowed to continue his speech outside for anyone who wanted to hear it. Last week a parliamentary committee said there was "strong circumstantial evidence" that the Iraqi government had funded Galloway's charity, the Mariam Appeal, with his knowledge and approval, and said the lawmaker had been "clearly irresponsible" in not investigating the source of donations to the fund. The committee's conclusions followed a US Senate investigation into Galloway, which accused Galloway's political organization and his wife of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in UN oil-for-food allocations from Saddam. Galloway called the report defamatory. In 2005, Galloway created a spectacle on Capitol Hill by denouncing US senators while voluntarily testifying under oath before the committee. He called the panel of senators a "lickspittle Republican committee" and accused them of "the mother of all smoke screens." Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq. He formed his own party, Respect, and won re-election to the Commons in 2005. His suspension will take effect Oct. 8, after Parliament returns from recess.