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4th October 2012

George Galloway sues NUS over “rape denier” claims

George Galloway is suing the NUS after they referred to him as “rape denier” and banned him from speaking at their events

Respect MP George Galloway is suing the National Union of Students after they banned him for being a “rape denier”.

The NUS action last week comes after Mr Galloway, a public Julian Assange supporter, rubbished the claims of rape against the Wikileaks founder in a podcast in August.

Mr Galloway said in the podcast, “Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100% true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape.

“It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.”

Following the comments, the National Union of Students put forward a motion to ban the Bradford West MP from speaking at NUS organised events and ban its members from speaking on a platform with Mr Galloway.

The motion went ahead despite an email by a member of Mr Galloway’s office to the NUS executive trying to smooth over the situation, in which it said Mr Galloway’s views on Mr Assange were “widely held on the left of the political spectrum.”

Ron Mckay, a spokesman for Mr Galloway, said they have sent a letter to the NUS and court action would follow depending on how they responded to it.

“We’ve written the legal letter and depending on how they respond the next stage is a writ and the court process creeps into place,” Mr Mckay said.

“George is not suing because he has been banned,” he added. “The NUS (executive) can ban whomever they like for whatever reason they conjure, what they cannot do is put down a motion and pass a wording which is clearly defamatory without consequences.

“And to call someone a rape denier is undoubtedly defamatory. There could hardly be a more serious accusation.”

When contacted, the NUS refused to comment because they had not received any direct communication from Mr Galloway.

Mr Galloway wrote on his Twitter account he would give any money he recovers from the NUS to the Defence Fund for Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.

University of Manchester Students’ Union Womens’ Officer Tabz Obrien-Butcher condemned Mr Galloway’s comments and said she stood behind the NUS ban.

“George Galloway’s comments are utterly disgusting,” she said. “I am so incredibly proud to be a part of a movement that has categorically said no to rape apologism.

She added: “If his alleged attempt to sue the National Union of Students for standing against rape apologism is proven to be true, Galloway will have further shown his lack of respect for our right as students to voice our opinions, and our right as women to demand our safety.

“His statement on Twitter, in which he pledged to give any monies received from the NUS to Julian Assange’s Defence Fund clearly evidences how right we were to refuse him a platform in our unions and a voice in our movement.”

Tory MEP Roger Helmer has also been banned by the NUS for alleged controversial comments about rape.

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