UK
01/03/2015 10:29 GMT | Updated 04/03/2015 09:59 GMT

George Galloway 'Anti-Semitism' Letter Recipients Offered Free Legal Advice

UPDATE: Galloway's 'Anti-Semitism' Legal Letters Could Be About To Backfire

A Twitter account has been set up to offer free legal advice to those apparently being sued by George Galloway.

On Saturday it was reported the Respect MP had demanded "significant" damages from up to a dozen Twitter users who allegedly called him anti-Semitic.

A number of people reported being sent a letter written by lawyers acting on behalf of the Respect MP, informing them that they need to pay over £6,000 each, according to The Times.

george galloway

George Galloway

In response the @SuedByGalloway account has sprung up purporting to put people in touch with solicitors and lawyers who can offer them free legal advice on the issue.

Those behind the account - who wish to remain anonymous - told the Huffington Post UK: "We are doing this because we are disgusted with the way Galloway is threatening and intimidating people on Twitter thus attempting to stifle free speech and free expression.

"We wanted to create a space for people who have been sent these letters to communicate and support one another- the response has been phenomenal. None of us expected it to be honest and it shows that Galloway has upset a lot of people.

"We have helped those who've contacted us directly either by email or by twitter by putting them into touch with solicitors and barristers who can give free advice."

One of the lawyers helping those behind the account is Mark Lewis of Seddons Solicitors who has past form helping people defend against libel claims who normally wouldn't be able to pay the legal costs.

He confirmed his involvement to the Huffington Post and said: "It must have been very frightening for individuals to get demands for £5000 plus VAT for the legal costs for sending one letter.

"Someone has to stand up to this type of demand. I have advised that a report be made to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority in respect of such action. By all means defend a reputation where it is proper to do so but do not go back to the days of chilling people from speaking out."

The tweets in question relate to a heated appearance by Galloway on BBC Question Time last month.

Galloway - a staunch critic of Israel - was roundly heckled during the show, which was filmed in Finchley, North London, a heavily Jewish area.

The final questioner implied the Respect MP - who last year declared Bradford an "Israel-free zone" - had contributed to an anti-Semitic fervor in the UK, an allegation he has strongly denied.

Galloway rejected the claims on air and in the aftermath of the show wrote a blog claiming the audience selection was “laughably biased”.

During a Twitter conversation a few days later Guardian writer Hadley Freeman also accused Galloway of blurring the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

The tweet, which was later deleted, lead to the following exchange:

In response, solicitors apparently acting on Galloway's behalf wrote letters stating those in question are “required” to pay legal costs of £5,000 plus VAT.

Galloway is well-known for his outspoken views and vocal public persona. Footage emerged last month showing him condemn the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for producing “pornographic, obscene insults” against the Prophet Muhammad.