Ex-MP George Galloway urges ‘Ire-exit’ EU referendum

Left-wing figure in Galway for screening of his documentary on British ex-PM Tony Blair

George Galloway, the former British MP,  has said he is in favour of an “Ire-exit” from the EU. File photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

George Galloway, the former British MP, has said he is in favour of an “Ire-exit” from the EU. File photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

 

Former British MP George Galloway has said he is in favour of an “Ire-exit” from the EU which should be put to a referendum.

The left-wing politician, who was in Galway last night to host a screening of his documentary critical of former British prime minister Tony Blair, also said he believed the result of the British vote should be a “spur to Irish unity”.

Mr Galloway was expelled from the British Labour Party over his statements opposing Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War, and later became leader of the Respect party.

He lost his seat in the last general election and failed in his bid to become London’s mayor.

No regrets on Brexit

He campaigned in favour of Brexit and said he had no regrets about his stance, though he stressed this was very different to that of Ukip.

“I am a soldier of the late Mr Tony Benn, and my opposition to EU membership dates back to 1975,” he said.

“The EU has been ruinous for both Britain and Ireland, with long years of austerity and destruction of public services,” he said.

“I believe Ireland would benefit from an ‘Ire-exit’ and people should be asked. This could be a spur to Irish unity.”

On the US presidential election, Mr Galloway supports US Green Party candidate Jill Stein, but said he was misrepresented in recent reports suggesting he was in favour of US Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“I believe both Trump and Clinton are as dangerous as each other,” he said.

Former UN assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday, from Clifden, Co Galway, is among the contributors to the Blair documentary, The Killings of Tony Blair, which Mr Galloway raised money for through a crowdfunding campaign. He said he also sold his house to finish it.

‘Finest achievement’

“I realise Tony Blair is regarded well here for his contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, and I do acknowledge that as perhaps his finest achievement,” Mr Galloway told The Irish Times.

“However, he has been found wanting in global terms, and is now a very wealthy man,” he said.

He said he had approached every member of Mr Blair’s former cabinet, and the only MP who agreed to be interviewed on record was Clare Short, who resigned from her appointment as secretary of state for international development in 2003.

Mr Galloway said he believed Mr Blair still commanded support among backbench MPs and within “mainstream media”.