Letters demanding £5,000

George Galloway’s lawyers have been sending people letters demanding money for…retweeting an allegation that Galloway is anti-semitic.

George Galloway has ordered lawyers to issue Twitter users who alleged he was an anti-Semite with letters demanding £5,000 and threatening legal action.

The Bradford West MP has reportedly singled out up to a dozen people, including some who had only re-tweeted other posts and a charity worker with just 75 followers.

The letters, seen by The Times, were issued by Bradford-based Chambers Solicitors. They said the recipient was “required” to pay legal costs of £5,000 plus VAT into a HSBC bank account by 10 March.

Required??? Just like that? In advance of any trial, on their say-so? That sounds awfully…extortion-like.

Ron McKay, a spokesperson for Mr Galloway, confirmed his legal action to The Independent, claiming it was “normal practice” for lawyers to demand costs from a defendant before a the start of a libel case.

“If they don’t pay the money it will go to court,” he added.

Well, given the way the Indy is framing this, I have a suspicion it’s not normal practice at all.

Among those receiving a warning was Hadley Freeman, a Guardian columnist, who wrote a since deleted tweet about the Respect MP on 10 February.

Later that day, Mr Galloway wrote on Twitter: “I have begun legal proceedings against Hadley Freeman of the Guardian on her defamatory comments about me. No one should repeat them.”

The furore inspired the hashtag #libelGalloway to trend as people concocted joke statements to poke fun at his legal action.

A charity worker who re-tweeted a post supporting Ms Freeman, which repeated an anti-Semitism accusation, was among those receiving letters.

“I don’t have £50 let alone £5,000,” the person told The Times.

Another recipient told the newspaper they were “frightened” by the demands sparked by two re-tweets that were not meant as endorsements.

Mr Galloway has also personally threatened critics with legal action on Twitter, writing to one last week: “Most unwise of you to be writing these things. My lawyers will find you.”

Dreadful man.


  1. newenlightenment says


    Galloway’s endorsement of dictatorship extends beyond the Muslim world. Here he is in 2008 at a rally for the ultra Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist)* praising Mao’s cultural revolution and denouncing free Tibet protestors as ‘Running dogs of imperialism’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuWNlFkrihQ

    The CPGB (ML) is a tiny little sect whose sole purpose appears to be to endorse every brutal despot in existence, provided that despot is at least vaguely anti-American. The party has pledged its colours to North Korea, its chairman Harpal Brar wrote an entire book praising Robert Mugabe, they offer unconditional support to Hamas and Hezbollah and have marched under the slogans ‘victory to Assad’ and ‘victory to Gaddafi’. (Though even they draw the line at ISIS) since they lack any resources to bribe Galloway in the manner to which he is accustomed I can only conclude he was at that meeting out of genuine solidarity with their warped ideas.

    What a great friend Galloway is to the Muslim world, endorsing a Chinese dictatorship that occupies and subjugates Muslim East Turkestan with far more viciousness that Israel has ever shown in Gaza. He displayed that same friendship when he endorsed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which resulted in the deaths of over a million Muslims. Fraternal love towards the Muslim world must have been utmost in his mind when he opposed effective intervention in Bosnia, to prevent the attempted genocide of its Muslim population by Milosevic’s thugs. Galloway once said ‘a billion Muslims know my name’. I truly hope so, George, I hope they never forget it.

    *not to be confused with the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist) or the Revolutionary communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist) never mind the Communist Party of Britain, the Communist Party of Great Britain or the New Communist Party of Britain. Seriously, I’m not making any of this up.

  2. says

    I’m ardently hoping that this will backfire on Galloway. The disgusting scumbag has threatened to sue people before, they’ve told him to take a hike, and a hike he has taken.

    Various top-notch lawyers are offering free advice to his victims. This article below gives a good & amusing account of Galloway’s & his lawyers’ doings.

    “Chambers appear to be focused on immigration, serious crime and fraud and personal injury, among other topics. But above all, they are, according to their own website “calculated risk takers”, who are “not afraid to take on challenges that would daunt many others”.

    They boast that their ethos “is to ensure that the ordinary person has access to good quality legal advice as public bodies, insurance companies & multi-national companies which has led us to take on many ‘David & Goliath’ legal struggles for justice”.

    This does not seem to tie in with the pursuit of one Twitter user who received a letter from Chambers demanding money. That person, with only 70 followers on Twitter, told the Guardian: “I’m not a politician. I’m not remotely influential. I deleted it. I have been suffering terrible health problems [since receiving the letter]. I’m on antidepressants and suffering from chest pains.”

    Chambers’ apparent risk-taking, would seem to have backfired rather spectacularly.

    Private Eye magazine said it had “drawn the letter to the attention of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) which takes a dim view of this sort of ‘speculative invoicing’”.”


    Galloway is grossly litigious. A couple of times he’s had a point, when accused of dodgy financial dealings in major newspapers, but most of the time it’s been to stifle criticism. He’s an MP, he has plenty of media space to argue with or even shout at people, but he prefers to try & destroy them instead. No other MP acts like that. That Twitter spat with Hadley Freeman would have passed into cyberspace and been forgotten in a day or two if he hadn’t sued her.

    A good piece here about the vague defamatory laws in the UK which allows this sort of rubbish and the difference between an ordinary person defending their reputation and a public figure:-

    The UK and Europe have never adopted the so-called public figure exception to defamation law, which would further promote public debate by creating a stronger presumption of freedom for speakers when they are discussing high-profile politicians, or other persons who have visibly entered the cut and thrust of politics.

    One rationale for that doctrine is that someone like Galloway has broad and immediate access to influential media and public fora, within which he can more than adequately respond to such criticisms, without having to run to the courts to defend himself. 

  3. Blanche Quizno says

    “claiming it was “normal practice” for lawyers to demand costs from a defendant before a the start of a libel case.”

    uh…no. They are hoping the defendants will settle in that amount, but the defendants are never required to pay their accusers’ costs in advance of a valid judgement against them, to make it possible for their *accusers* to sue them in court! And what this gangster and his lawyer thugs have arranged is a sweetheart deal for themselves – if their targets can be leaned on to cough up 5,000 pounds each, they’ll split the cash and laugh all the way to the bank.

  4. Blanche Quizno says

    Apparently Mr. Galloway does not believe speech should be free. People must pay.

  5. says

    I can’t recall the case (I have it somewhere…) but I once read a great response to a letter like that, reading something to the effect of “We refer you to the defendant’s response in Wheezlebottom V Froglips”

    That response being: “stuff it.”

  6. moarscienceplz says

    Jerry Coyne has said more than once that anyone who criticizes the Israeli government more than the Palestinians is probably an anti-semite, so let’s see,
    1 billion people times 5000 pounds per person, hmmm. Better write a whole lot more books, Jerry.

  7. johnthedrunkard says

    I get the impression that Galloway is not only malicious and toxic in his speech and writing, but also appallingly reckless.

    Isn’t there, by now, an available body of authoritative quotes and sound/vid clips to document his nature and conduct?


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