MP Galloway faces 20,000-name petition calling for ‘public disorder’ charge

mp George Galloway when he campaigned in his former East End constituency

mp George Galloway when he campaigned in his former East End constituency - Credit: Archant

Former East London MP George Galloway is facing a petition with nearly 20,000 names calling for him to be charged with public disorder for causing “harassment and alarm”.

The ex-Bethnal Green and Bow MP, who lost the 2010 General Election in the neighbouring Poplar constituency, re-emerged as MP for Bradford West where he has declared the city “an Israel-free zone” following Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

The city, he said, didn’t want Israeli goods, services, academics or “any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford” .

It has since emerged that the MP has been interviewed by West Yorkshire police under caution about his speech against the Jewish state.

The online petition to the Crown Prosecution Service organised by playwright Robert Pegg calls for charges under the 1986 Public Order Act.

It claims Galloway stepped “way beyond boundaries of free expression and legitimate debate” and causing “harassment, alarm or distress to a specific group of people.”

Galloway’s political aide Ron McKay said: “People are entitled to petition what they want. George was calling for boycott, but the courts will decide whether that’s racial hatred—it’s not anti-Semitism.”

The petition also accuses Galloway of a racially-aggravated offence under the 1998 Crime & Disorder Act which it said constitutes a prima facie case with “sufficient evidence to put him before the courts”.