By Paul Goodman
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9.15 Update: Evident now that there's a big Labour Boycott coming today. There will be lots of green space on the opposition benches. Blair got a standing ovation from Conservative MPs when he left Parliament. Thatcher will get a boycott now that she has died. Many will wonder whether, in key respects, that's the right way round. P.S: Galloway isn't going.
"Who's he?" "Never here!"
That's how George Galloway was greeted recently by MPs when the Speaker called him during Prime Minister's Questions. I wondered, when Galloway won the Bradford West by-election, whether he would deign to turn up to the Commons and do some work – given the hype that his victory provoked, and the expectations he clearly aroused. "His new constituents may not approve if the march of the Bradford Spring ends up back at the Big Brother studio," as I put it at the time.
That was before the "sex game" business – and Galloway is, as his reaction to Baroness Thatcher's death reminded us, unwilling to moderate his act (and probably incapable of doing so). He's in Westminster scarcely more often than he was, and his new constituents may not like it any more than his old ones did.
This afternoon presents a cracking opportunity for Galloway to turn up and urinate on the carpet, and I will surprised if he doesn't try to do so. Will Bercow call him? Ed Miliband will be relieved if does, because the more Galloway waves his willy around in the Commons, the more likely it is that his antics will distract attention from any Labour MPs who assail Thatcher's memory.