Galloway: Blair assassination would be justified

George Galloway says assassinating Blair would be morally justified
George Galloway says assassinating Blair would be morally justified

George Galloway has been forced to clarify his statement to a magazine that it would be "morally justified" to assassinate Tony Blair.

The Respect MP told GQ that he did not support such a move, but said it would be "entirely logical and explicable" given the prime minister's decision to order military action against Iraq.

His comments have provoked condemnation across Westminster, with Labour MP Stephen Pound describing them as "twisted" and Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell saying they were unacceptable.

But in the wake of the row, Mr Galloway issued a statement noting that Mr Blair's wife, Cherie, had said she could understand why some Palestinians felt becoming suicide bombers was their only option.

"From the point of view of someone who has seen their country invaded and their family blown apart it's possible, of course, for them to construct a moral justification," he said.

"But I've made my position clear. I would not support anyone seeking to assassinate the prime minister. That's why I said in the interview I would report to the authorities any such plot that I knew of."

The comments are just the latest in a series of controversial statements made by the former Labour MP.

Mr Galloway won the seat of Bethnal Green and Bow from Labour's Oona King in the last general election on an anti-Iraq war ticket, and has been a vocal opponent of the occupation by British and US forces.

He was asked by interviewer Piers Morgan, the former editor of the Daily Mirror, whether the killing of Mr Blair by a suicide bombing would be justified, as long as there were no other casualties.

"Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it, but if it happened I believe it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of July 7th," Mr Galloway replied.

"It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq as Blair did."

But he said such a move would be counterproductive, and "just generate a new wave of anti-Arab sentiment whipped up by the press".

"It would lead to new draconian anti-terror laws, and would probably strengthen the resolve of the British and American services in Iraq rather than weaken it," he said.

However, Mr Galloway said he would rather see the prime minister brought to trial for war crimes, and in his statement this afternoon, he insisted this was what he would be fighting for.

"I would like to see Tony Blair in front of a war crimes tribunal for sending this country to war illegally and for the appalling human consequences which resulted," he said.


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