George Galloway has suggested Yvonne Ridley, a war correspondent who converted to Islam after being captured by the Taliban, would make a good Respect MP for Newham.
The former MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, now the MP for Bradford, was last night speaking at a packed meeting organised by Newham People’s Alliance.
According to security at the Empire venue on Barking Road, in East Ham, up to 1,000 people turned up to the event dubbed “Newham Spring”.
The meeting came after Mr Galloway re-launched his Respect party in Newham at the end of December.
At the last meeting Mr Galloway said he aimed to see a Respect mayor in Newham and have at least three Respect councillors in the borough after the next election. The current council is all Labour.
Mr Galloway was met by applause last night as he told audience: “This is the beginning of the Newham revolution.”
He said the “revolution” would not stop until a new mosque in West Ham, rejected by the council on planning grounds, had been built.
Referring to Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales, Mr Galloway said: “If you don’t resign then I’m going to follow you every step of the way until polling day.”
Cheered on by the audience Mr Galloway was urged to challenge Sir Robin himself but he did not say whether he would run himself as Mayor.
Yvonne Ridley also addressed the meeting along with the chair of the Newham People’s Alliance Mufti Shah Sadruddin.
The NPA describe themselves as a non-partisan and multi-faith group formed to compel those in power into a dialogue with ordinary people who they say have been sidelined.