Bradford MP George Galloway escapes criminal charges over anti-Israel speech in Leeds

George Galloway

George Galloway

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George Galloway will not be charged over a speech he made in Leeds in which he declared Bradford an “Israel-free zone”.

West Yorkshire Police received several complaints after the Bradford West MP urged the city to reject all Israeli goods, services, academics and even tourists.

The comments, which were made at a packed meeting of Respect activists in Leeds at the height of tensions over Palestine in August, also provoked a storm of controversy on social media.

But the West Yorkshire force said, while a “hate incident” had been recorded, prosecutors had decided there was insufficient evidence to charge Mr Galloway.

Chief Supt Paul Money, commander for the Leeds division, said: “West Yorkshire Police received a number of complaints about the content of a speech made by Bradford MP George Galloway on August 2 this year.

“A full investigation has been carried out which included Mr Galloway being voluntarily interviewed under caution.

“A file was submitted to The Crown Prosecution Service for advice on whether any offences had been committed and they have now concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support any charges.”

He added: “West Yorkshire Police always takes complaints of hate offences seriously and wants victims and witnesses to come forward with confidence knowing that any reported incidents will be thoroughly investigated.

“West Yorkshire Police has recorded this matter as a hate incident. A hate incident is any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by prejudice or hate towards a person’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

After hearing of the decision Mr Galloway tweeted: “CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) confirm “no action” over my speech in Leeds. Another fail for the Israel lobby, another huge waste of police time and public money.”

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