Wikileaks co-founder and lefty hero Julian Assange “should receive the Nobel Peace Prize”, former MP George Galloway has claimed during an appearance at the Cambridge Union Society (CUS).
The maverick left-winger and former Labour and Respect Party MP made the assertion as he answered questions from students at the famous debating group, where he also pledged his backing to new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief has been hiding inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, London since 2012 to avoid a date with Swedish justice after allegations of rape were made against him. WikiLeaks claims that if he leaves his sanctuary Mr. Assange could be extradited to the U.S. from Sweden, where the Australian could face up to 45 years in prison.
Student members of the CUS recently voted 3 to 1 in a referendum to host a debate featuring Mr. Assange and he will speak on November 11 via a weblink.
Mr. Galloway has previously faced criticism for describing Mr. Assange’s behaviour as “bad sexual etiquette”, but Cambridge News reports he spoke to clarify his comments and commend the CUS for issuing the invitation. He said:
“I regret the words I said in standing up for Julian Assange, I regret those words have given my enemies opportunities to attack me and attack him and I am sorry I upset some people…
“… Julian Assange should receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He has performed a service to the world and to those with enquiring minds.
“I am therefore glad the Cambridge students did what they should have done in the referendum in the last few days and he will be able to speak to you for himself.”
Mr. Galloway was a Labour MP from 1987 but was banned from the party in 2003 following his criticism of the Iraq War. However, when asked at the CUS how the party’s new leader would change Labour he said he regretted being expelled.
He said: “I spent nearly 30 years as a member of parliament and I would of course still have liked to be a Labour MP, the title of Labour MP is still something.”
The candidate for the 2016 Mayor of London election also branded Chancellor George Osborne a “pasty-faced product of the English ruling elite” who couldn’t “cut the mustard” as Tory leader, saying the 2020 election would be “a much closer contest than the pundits will have you believe”.
In a heated exchange with questions from the chamber he told one student to “shut up”, while another branded the 60-year-old an “ogre”, to jeers from the crowd.
When asked about his work on Iranian state TV, he described Iran as a “great country” adding “Britain is the last country in the whole world that should be lecturing the Iranians on how to operate.”
Mr. Galloway also dubbed himself a “humble agitator” and “a soldier” in the Middle East peace process, defending his refusal to debate with an Israeli student at the Oxford Union in 2013. As Breitbart London recently reported, he also spoke alongside former MP and London Mayor Ken Livingstone in support of corrupt Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman who was removed from office after being found guilty of electoral fraud.