The National Union of Students has banned George Galloway for being a "rape denier", despite a last-ditch plea from a member of his office who claimed his views on Julian Assange are "widely held on the left of the political spectrum."
The was motion passed against the Respect MP came after he made outspoken comments about the case of Assange, who is accused of sex crimes.
Galloway, MP for Bradford West said in a podcast that the allegations against Assange "don't constitute rape" and were at worst "bad sexual etiquette."
Banned: Galloway has been no-platformed by the NUS despite someone from his office claiming his views on Julian Assange were 'widely held on the left of the political spectrum'
An NUS spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK: “NUS believes that there is a culture of undermining rape victims and rejects attempts to glorify, joke about or dismiss rape.
"The motion passed yesterday confirms that NUS shall not offer a platform to speakers who are rape deniers or apologists, or support events where such individuals speak.
"NUS will campaign to tackle attitudes on campus that trivialise sexual assault or seek to blame survivors, and instead promote a better understanding of consent.”
Galloway had made a last-ditch attempt to prevent the ban, with a representative from his office, Rob Hoveman, emailing members of the students' body national executive committee (NEC) to claim "George’s view that Assange has been set up has been one widely held on the left of the political spectrum and by those who have examined the detail of the allegations against him in the public domain."
An NUS source verified the email to The Huffington Post UK, saying a number of members of their NEC had received the letter.
Following the comments he was denounced by his then party leader, Salma Yaqoob, and his comments were branded "offensive and deeply concerning" by Rape Crisis.
He was also sacked from his job as a columnist for Scottish political magazine Holyrood.
The Huffington Post UK could not reach a representative of George Galloway for comment on the ban, despite repeated attempts.
The motion was passed by 24 to 6 votes.
READ: Galloway's email in full
Dear NUS Executive Member,
We are extremely surprised to learn that the NUS Executive plans to debate a motion to ban George Galloway from speaking at NUS organised events and NUS elected officers from speaking on platforms with George Galloway. No-one from the NUS Executive planning to move or support this motion has bothered to contact him or his office to seek clarification of his views on the matters that have provoked this extraordinary move, not that the NUS Executive has ever invited him to speak on its platforms in recent years.
I am however pleased to provide you with clarification of George Galloway’s views both on rape and Julian Assange, views which have been subject to widespread misinterpretation since the podcast in which he expressed views about Julian Assange.
Firstly, on the issue of rape, George Galloway has always held and continues to hold the following positions. No always means no, and never means yes. Consent must be present for any sexual intercourse or other sexual contact. Without meaningful consent, sexual contact will imply sexual assault or rape. Meaningful consent cannot be given if someone is not conscious and sexual intercourse in such circumstances could therefore prima facie imply the possibility of rape. He is also mindful that rape has been severely under-reported over many years because of fear on the part of women, and that it has proved difficult to secure rape convictions in many cases where rape has occurred. He wholeheartedly welcomes the work done by many women’s groups and others to assist women who have suffered domestic and sexual violence and to change attitudes on these issues and he deplores the closure of projects to assist women in these circumstances, and especially women’s refuges, as a result of government and local government spending cuts.
Secondly, on the issue of Julian Assange, he holds the view, based on the evidence in the public domain, that Julian Assange has been set up by those who had most to lose from the exposure by Julian Assange and Wikileaks of the support for murder, torture, rape and abuse of those whom Western Imperialism has deemed enemies of its interests or “collateral damage” as it invades and occupies other people’s countries. This is what he was addressing in his podcast, the specific issue of Julian Assange. He was not seeking to generalise on the wider issues of the definition of rape in other cases where very different factors and evidence is involved. George Galloway also believes that the extradition demand on Julian Assange should be dropped and the Swedish authorities should guarantee that he will not be extradited to the United States where he could face a life sentence in the appalling conditions being inflicted on Bradley Manning for his whistle-blowing.
I hope this will at least clarify for you where he stands. As far as we are concerned, there may be those who still disagree with his assessment of the Julian Assange case, although George’s view that Assange has been set up has been one widely held on the left of the political spectrum and by those who have examined the detail of the allegations against him in the public domain, including presumably by the Stop the War Coalition who gave a platform to Julian Assange at a rally in Trafalgar Square last year long after the allegations had arisen. We certainly do not see any justification in this legitimate disagreement for imposing a policy of no platform on him and indeed we believe such a move would bring the NUS Executive into disrepute in the eyes of many.
With best wishes,
Office of George Galloway MP
A paragraph containing allegations made by the NUS against Tory MEP Roger Helmer and Andrew Brons, MEP for the BNP, has been removed at the request of Andrew Brons' office. The NUS has since withdrawn its allegation against Brons.
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