Man charged with attacking British MP on London street

LONDON Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:41pm BST

Respect Party candidate George Galloway gestures from an open top bus outside his campaign office in Bradford, northern England, March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Respect Party candidate George Galloway gestures from an open top bus outside his campaign office in Bradford, northern England, March 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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LONDON (Reuters) - A man has been charged with a religiously-motivated "assault by beating" on British MP George Galloway, police said on Saturday.

Galloway, who recently declared the northern English city he represents an "Israel-free zone", was attacked on a west London street on Friday night.

Police said Neil Masterson, 39, had been charged with "assault by beating which is religiously aggravated" and would appear in court on Monday.

"It is thought that the attack is connected to Mr Galloway's support for the Palestinian cause," his Respect Party said in a statement.

The outspoken Scot, dubbed "Gorgeous George" by the British media, recently made headlines when he declared Bradford to be an Israel-free zone and urged people to reject all Israeli goods, services and tourists.

A Respect spokesman said the incident appeared to be connected with Israel because the attacker had been shouting something about the Holocaust.

Galloway, who once lauded former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, stunned British politics when he won his West Bradford seat in 2012 to become one of only a handful of lawmakers from outside the three major parties. Bradford has a large Muslim minority.

He has been discharged from hospital after treatment for his injuries.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Andrew Roche)

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