Celebrity politicians back independent

BACKING ... Independent candidate Ahmed Khan with his new campaign banners.
BACKING ... Independent candidate Ahmed Khan with his new campaign banners.

AN outspoken MP and former BBC war correspondent have given their backing to a candidate in the South Shields Parliamentary by-election.

George Galloway, who represents Bradford West for the Respect party, and Martin Bell, a former independent MP famed for the white suits he used to wear as a BBC war reporter, have endorsed former South Tyneside independent councillor Ahmed Khan.

It’s a big boost to the Westoe businessman, who formerly represented the town’s Beacon and Bents ward.

Meanwhile, Mr Khan, 52, has put up a large banner outside his business, Workwear and Schoolwear Ltd in Dean Road, with images of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Miliband, bearing the statement: “The people of South Shields trusted them ... They became richer. We became poorer. Let’s not make the same mistake again!”

Mr Khan first encountered Mr Galloway when the latter was giving a talk at the Customs House in South Shields several years ago.

In his letter of endorsement, Mr Galloway, famed for his boisterous defence of himself to the US senate in 2005 and his appearance on TV’s Celebrity Big Brother, says: “Shields needs a strong voice in Parliament, someone who will stand up for local people and I can’t think of anyone better than Ahmed Khan to do that on their behalf.”

Mr Bell adds: “It is time to elect an independent, without party baggage but with real world experience, to be a force for honest politics.

“He will be answerable not to a political party, but his constituents. It won’t be easy, but I believe that it is do-able.”

Mr Khan said he had been buoyed by the endorsements, adding: “It’s good to know that there are other people who appreciate what I am trying to do and how I’m trying to break the mould in South Shields, as they have broken the mould in their own way.

“Both men have great reputations. Look at Galloway – he’s had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him and he always bounces back.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul