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British anti-war candidate blasts Blair over Iraq
Updated: 2005-05-06 14:28

A radical left-winger, who attacked Tony Blair and George W. Bush as "wolves" over the Iraq war, stormed to victory in a Muslim-dominated district on Friday in Britain's election.

George Galloway, 50, a flamboyant Scot expelled from Blair's Labour party for his stance, used his victory speech to launch a withering attack on the prime minister who on Thursday became the first Labour party leader to win a third term.

"All the people you killed, all the lies you told, have come back to haunt you," he said. "The best thing the Labour party could do is sack you tomorrow morning," he added to cheers from the audience.

Ridiculed during the campaign for being a friend of Saddam Hussein's, Galloway had previously visited the former Iraqi leader and was once caught on video praising his strength and courage.

Galloway defeated Labour candidate Oona King in Bethnal Green and Bow in east London, which is dominated by Muslims of Bangladeshi origin, after one of the most heated battles of the election.

King had supported Blair throughout the campaign.


Nicknamed "Gorgeous George" for his permanent tan and smart suits, Galloway ousted King, a black Jewish woman defending a 10,057-vote majority. He won by 823 votes and declared it a victory for Iraq.

The former Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin who stood for the Respect party slammed King as a "poodle" for supporting the war.

The contest was one of the most fascinating of an otherwise fairly dull election campaign and was also the nastiest.

On one evening, King had the tyres of her cars slashed and was pelted with eggs. Police also had to be called after Galloway was targeted by radical Muslims opposed to the very idea of voting.

But after the result, both candidates shook hands and remained gracious.

"Oona King is an able person who will be back in politics and in parliament," Galloway said. "The defeat was not her defeat this evening. It was a defeat for Tony Blair and New Labour and all of the betrayals."

Galloway's victory is indicative of the dissatisfaction felt by many of Britain's 1.6 million Muslims, both over Iraq and a perceived stigmatisation of them since the Sept. 11 2001 attacks in the United States.

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