Wed, Jan 18, 2006 - Page 6 News List

UK's parliament set to investigate rebel lawmaker


The speaker of the UK's House of Commons said on Monday he will investigate how maverick lawmaker George Galloway managed to apparently sign parliamentary documents while at the same time appearing in a live television show.

Michael Martin was responding to a complaint issued by Chris Bryant, a lawmaker from the governing Labour Party.

Bryant told lawmakers that Galloway had not been present in the House of Commons to sign the early day motions -- notices drawing the government's attention to issues -- because he was taking part in the reality show Celebrity Big Brother.

"And yet he [Galloway] has managed to sign early day motions last Thursday -- 12 of them on the order paper today -- one of them for abandoned animals for Christmas," Bryant said.

"I wonder whether this is entirely in order for a member of Parliament who is not present, has no means of being in communication with this House, still to be able to sign early day motions," he said.

To laughter, Martin confessed, "I do watch Big Brother."

"I saw the one about the cat," he added, a reference to Galloway's impersonation of a cat on the program, which drew derision from his political opponents.

Martin said some lawmakers gave authority to other lawmakers to put their names on early day motions. "But I can't think of any member who would do so in this instance."

"I will look into the matter," he said.

Critics have accused Galloway of neglecting his electors in order to appear on the show, which is known as a place where fading celebrities go to try to reignite their careers.

Galloway, 51, who founded the Respect Party after he was expelled from the Labour Party for opposing the Iraq war, has spent more than a week in the Big Brother house.

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