George Galloway has been sacked from his TalkRadio show with immediate effect, after the former MP said Liverpool’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final meant there would be “no Israel flags on the cup”.
The north London club, which has a strong association with the Jewish community, had called for him to be sacked, saying: “It’s astounding in this day and age to read such blatant antisemitism published on a social platform by someone who is still afforded air time on a radio station on which he has previously broken broadcast impartiality rules.”
The former Labour and Respect party MP had presented the Friday night programme, called The Mother of All Talk Shows, since 2016. Earlier this year, the station was censured by the media regulator Ofcom for breaching broadcasting impartiality rules when Galloway cast doubt on Russian involvement in the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Salisbury last year.
A spokesperson for the station confirmed it had taken Galloway off air following his tweet, which was posted after the game finished on Saturday night. They said: “TalkRadio has terminated George Galloway’s weekly show with immediate effect. As a fair and balanced news provider, TalkRadio does not tolerate antisemitic views.”
Since Galloway’s departure from parliament in 2015 and a disastrous campaign in the 2016 mayor of London race, he has increasingly concentrated on media work.
This resulted in the unusual relationship between Galloway and TalkRadio, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK. The station’s studios recently moved into the main News UK office in London Bridge, sharing a building with the Sun and the Times – outlets that Galloway has often attacked for political reasons.
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, called Galloway a “poisonous and divisive figure” and said her organisation welcomed the decision to take him off air. “His attempt to bring hatred into a wonderful occasion for English football has attracted the derision it deserves,” she said.
The Labour deputy leader and shadow media minister, Tom Watson, said he welcomed the decision: “We must stand together against bigotry and in solidarity with the Jewish community. I welcome the decision to take a voice that thrives on division off the air.”
Galloway, a longstanding anti-EU campaigner who endorsed Nigel Farage’s Brexit party in the EU elections, appears to have no intention of going quietly. He has agreed to appear on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to discuss his suspension and responded to news of his sacking by threatening the station with legal action: “See you in court guys … Long live Palestine.”