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  1. ITV Report

George Galloway provoked a furious response following his comments.

Bradford West MP George Galloway Photo: Calendar

Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway has defended his controversial claim that a sex assault allegation against WikiLeaks campaigner Julian Assange amounted to no more than bad "sexual etiquette".

Mr Galloway provoked a furious response from women's groups after he said in a video podcast that even if the complaints made against Mr Assange by two women in Sweden were true, they did not constitute rape.

But in a statement today, the MP said he did not believe the authorities in Britain would have sanctioned a prosecution and that the allegations against Mr Assange had "all the hallmarks of a set-up"

"I don't believe, from what we know, that the Director of Public Prosecutions would sanction a prosecution in Britain. What occurred is not rape as most people understand it. And it's important to note that the two women involved did not initially claim it."

Mr Assange is currently held in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about the rape allegations.

In his statement, Mr Galloway, who is currently in Indonesia, said Mr Assange had repeatedly made clear that he was prepared to return to Sweden to face questioning if he received guarantees that he would not be extradited to the United States to face charges over the leak of US diplomatic cables.

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