Labour has been forced to deny it is trying to woo George Galloway back into the party fold after it emerged Ed Miliband held a 'secret' meeting with the Respect MP.
Controversy-ridden Galloway was thrown out of Labour in 2003 but went on to severely embarrass the party by taking the Bradford West by- election last year.
The two spoke for nearly an hour in Miliband's Commons office a few weeks ago sparking rumours he was trying to retake the seat by persuading Galloway to return to Labour.
A Labour spokesman admitted the meeting took place but said it was just a "courtesy".
He said: "There is no attempt to bring George Galloway back into the Labour Party as many of his views are unacceptable and extreme.
"Ed met him purely as a courtesy to discuss the recent vote on changing parliamentary boundaries.
"No communication has taken place since."
Gallowy has remained somewhat tight-lipped thus far on the rumours that Miliband is persuading him back to join Labour, but hit out at Labour MP Ivan Lewis who made a jibe about the controversial MP's re-admittance to the party.
Galloway was expelled from Labour for attempting to incite British troops to disobey orders over the Iraq invasion.
Since then he has continued to attract attention, either for his views on issues such as Israel and Palestine or for appearing on Celebrity Big Brother and acting like a cat.
Last week he said he hoped Margaret Thatcher would "burn in the hellfires".
Several Labour MPs rallied to defend the meeting, reiterating there was no prospect of Galloway rejoining the party, but several Tories have question the timing of the meeting, and why it needed to be with the leader of the party.
Labour sources told the Daily Mail: "It’s naive lunacy for the leader to have anything to do with him. I thought he wanted to get rid of the Red Ed tag. He will rejoin Labour over my dead body."