Response to front page article in Guardian by Vikram Dodd today
An edited version of this has been sent to the Guardian for publication.
George Galloway’s office was dealing with constituents’ problems on Friday just as we do every day of the week, including Christmas and New Year. Our office was, to my knowledge, unable to respond to only two calls from people saying they wanted to raise constituency problems - one who did not leave a phone number to return their call on and one where it was not possible, despite
repeated attempts, to hear the number left. And this despite the fact that we were bombarded with dozens of fatuous calls from journalists like Dodd and that BT, unfortunately, failed to install the phones in our new office which was due to open on Friday.
Most MPs did not hold surgeries on Friday because of the parliamentary recess. But we did. A dozen constituents came to the surgery which we hold every Friday from 4pm to 7pm. The issues were predominantly the same as they always are - appalling housing conditions resulting from the year’s of neglect and lack of investment by the New Labour government in Whitehall and the New Labour Council in Tower Hamlets, and immigration and asylum problems arising from this government’s iniquitous, racist immigration and asylum legislation.
It was New Labour’s propaganda before last May’s election that George would not represent his constituency properly and it has remained so ever since. And yet not only has George held surgeries almost every week since his election and taken up and vigorously pursued hundreds of constituents’ problems, he has spoken at more public meetings on campaigning issues around the constituency than his New Labour predecessor did in all the eight anonymous years of her incumbency. He has combined this with taking the Respect message around the country speaking to thousands and playing a very significant role building the international anti-war movement.
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