By a Newsnet reporter
Controversial MP George Galloway has been sacked from his job as a columnist on political magazine Holyrood in the wake of a row over comments he made about rape.
The announcement by the magazine’s editor, Mandy Rhodes, follows comments from the outspoken Respect MP in a podcast earlier this week where he suggested having sex with a women who was asleep was not rape, if consensual sex had occurred earlier in the evening.
In the podcast, Mr Galloway claimed that not waking a sleeping woman to seek consent prior to having sex was merely “bad sexual etiquette.
Holyrood editor Mandy Rhodes said in a statement: “George Galloway is no longer a columnist for Holyrood magazine and the reasons for that, I would have thought, are fairly obvious. Galloway has always courted controversy and while I have not always agreed with some of his views, I have admired him for staying true to his original political beliefs and particularly for his stance over Iraq.
“I had always felt that in an increasingly bland and corporate political world, he added some colour and was often an effective thorn in the side of the establishment. If nothing else, he provoked debate which is healthy. However, his recent outpourings about definitions of rape have left me, frankly gobsmacked.
“There is no excuse, ever, for sex without consent and regardless of the details of the Assange case, Galloway’s comments and inappropriate language about rape per se are alarming. I had hoped he might have taken the last 24 hours to reflect on his judgement and perhaps make some kind of public apology but that has not been apparent, far from it. So, it is with some very genuine regret that I have asked him to no longer write his column for the magazine.”
The Respect Party member’s comments have attracted a storm of criticism with his own party leader Salma Yaqoob, describing them as “deeply disappointing”.
“Let me be clear, as a politician and as a woman, rape occurs when a woman has not consented to sex,” she said in a statement on her website. “George Galloway’s comments on what constitutes rape are deeply disappointing and wrong”.
Mr Galloway issued a clarification statement yesterday in which he said: “No never means yes and non-consensual sex is rape. There’s no doubt about it and that has always been my position.”