The Charity Commission has today opened an inquiry into
the charitable funds raised for George Galloway’s
controversial appeal: the Lifeline for Gaza, also known
as Viva Palestina.
The campaign was in the news for all the wrong reasons
last month when the charity organised a convoy, led by Galloway,
to travel to Gaza, but saw nine of its party arrested in
connection with terrorism offences under the Terrorism Act
2006 before it left the UK.
The extreme left MP was also recently barred from entering
Canada to speak, on security grounds, because of his association
with extremist terrorist group Hamas.
Through various public fundraising events, the Viva Palestina
appeal claims on its website to have raised over £1
million pounds in aid to provide humanitarian relief to
The Commission has attempted to contact the appeal on repeated
occasions over the last month in an effort to secure acknowledgement
that the funds are held for charitable purposes.
However, to date, the Commission has had no substantive
response to the issues that have been raised, either from
the appeal or individuals connected with it.
In addition, the Commission has concerns over financial
governance arrangements relating to the use of funds.
The Commission has noted that these facts require further
investigation, and given the charity’s failure to
engage with the Commission, have now led to the opening
of an inquiry under Section 8 of the Charities Act 1993.
The Commission said it will make no further detailed comment
at this stage but normal practice is to publish a statement
of results setting out its findings, once the inquiry is
The Gaza convoy was not always welcomed on its travels,
when it arrived in the Egyptian town of El-Arish it was
pelted with stones and vandalised.
In the past Galloway has offered open support for the dictatorships
of Saddam Hussein and Bashar Assad.