George Galloway considers standing as Holyrood MSP

Published
image captionGeorge Galloway was a Labour MP in Glasgow for more than a decade

George Galloway is considering a return to frontline politics by standing for a seat in the Scottish Parliament.

The 56-year-old told the BBC he had been strongly urged by supporters to stand at next May's elections, and said Holyrood needed "heavy hitters".

Mr Galloway, the former MP for London's Bethnal Green and Bow seat, said he may only need 10,000 votes to get elected as an MSP on the Glasgow regional list.

He was born in Dundee and served as a MP in Glasgow for 18 years.

Mr Galloway, a Celtic fan, said he was first urged to stand through messages posted on the club's fan websites, and was also supported by members of Glasgow's Asian community and former constituents in the city's west end.

In an interview for BBC Radio's Scotland at Ten programme, he said: "I'm testing the water. So far the water's lovely.

"If people think I can do it and ought to do it and that it will be helpful to the things that I believe in, then I will have a go.

"The mountain that has to be climbed is not Everest, it's Ben Nevis perhaps - it's 5% of the vote across the whole of the city of Glasgow, which could be a few as 10,000 votes."

Mr Galloway, who is an author, columnist and radio broadcaster, said he was "not really in need of a seat" to gain a public platform.

But the politician, who campaigned for a Scots parliament in the 70's, said: "I think on the Labour side, and I do consider myself a Labour person, that our position in politics has not been all that well represented.

"Certainly since the demise of Donald Dewar, the Labour party in Scotland's going downhill a little."

Mr Galloway, who opposes independence, described First Minister Alex Salmond the "only real star" at Holyrood, but said he would back Labour to win next year, although he said of the party's leader: "I'd be lying if I told you I thought Iain Gray had set the heather on fire."

Mr Galloway, a founder member of the anti-war Respect party, was a Labour MP until he was expelled in 2003 over his opposition to the party's actions on Iraq.

He said any campaign to win a Holyrood seat would be based on championing "real Labour values".

More on this story