UK Politics

George Galloway claims police officer entered his home in 'dirty tricks' operation

George Galloway
Image caption The Respect MP re-entered the Commons earlier this year after a by-election victory

Respect MP George Galloway has accused a senior police officer of entering his home without consent as part of a "dirty tricks operation" against him.

Mr Galloway claims the counter-terrorism officer slept with his Parliamentary aide under his roof, set up fake e-mail accounts and a Facebook alias in a campaign to discredit him.

The MP has urged the home secretary to look into the matter.

The accused officer has been put on "restricted duties," the Met said.

The move, which removes the officer from front line operational responsibilities, is a standard procedure when a complaint is made and pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Mr Galloway was re-elected to Parliament in March following a stunning victory in a by-election in Bradford West.

The MP is claiming the officer, part of the Metropolitan Police's SO15 counter-terrorism branch, entered his south London home "without his knowledge or consent" as part of an "apparent dirty tricks operation" against him.

'Direct attack'

In a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May, Mr Galloway said he had been introduced to the officer in June by a female employee from his Bradford office and told he might act as a "security adviser" following a recent burglary.

The MP said it was his understanding, at the time, that the two were in a relationship but that he had subsequently discovered that the officer had spent time in his house without his consent when he was abroad.

He goes on to accuse the officer of making a series of allegations against him, including of electoral fraud in relation to the Bradford poll. Mr Galloway, who was elected with a majority of more than 10,000, said the claims were "utter tosh".

The MP said the officer used his work e-mail account to "co-ordinate the operation", set up fake e-mail addresses to spread "disinformation" in the media and used a Facebook alias to attack him.

He wrote: "I think you will agree that the behaviour of this senior officer in carrying out this dirty tricks campaign goes well beyond his role in counter-terrorism and is a direct attack on not just me but on democracy."

Mr Galloway has tabled an Early Day Motion, a mechanism used by MPs to raise issues of concern, in which he names the officer concerned and calls on Mrs May to make an urgent statement to Parliament on the issue.

Past controversy

The MP told the Evening Standard he believed the officer had slept with his aide under his roof and that the assistant was an "agent" who colluded with the officer and "leaked information" to him. The assistant had since been sacked, he said.

Mr Galloway is seeking clarification from the Met about the officer's responsibilities but said he believed his job was to "investigate and report on radical Muslim groups".

The Metropolitan Police had reassured him that the officer's actions were not authorised or part of any investigation, he told the paper.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said the matter had been passed to its directorate of professional standards to investigate and a voluntary referral was being made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The former Labour MP and anti-war campaigner has been the subject of frequent controversy during his long career in Parliament.

He sparked a row earlier this year when he defended Julian Assange, who is accused of serious sexual assault in Sweden, and said the Wikileaks founder was accused of nothing more than "bad sexual etiquette".

The comments prompted divisions within the party and Respect leader Salma Yaqoob recently blamed the row for her decision to quit.

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