George Galloway considering running for Mayor of London

The Respect MP appears to have already grown tired of Bradford.

It's just a year since George Galloway hailed the "Bradford spring" after winning the Bradford West by-election but the Respect MP has already set his sights on a bigger prize. In video footage unearthed by Liberal Conspiracy, Galloway grandly tells Russia Today presenter Max Keiser that he has "a committee which is seriously looking at the prospect of [me] running for Mayor of London at the next election." He adds: "I’d like to fight Boris Johnson, and I think David Cameron probably wishes I’d be fighting Boris Johnson because if I’m not, Boris Johnson is back in Parliament fighting him."

Since Boris has already ruled out standing for a third term, it's unlikely that Galloway will get the chance to fight him (and rather more likely that the Mayor will be back in the Commons). But just as he stood down as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow after serving just a single term, it look as if the old carpetbagger has already grown tired of Bradford. 

George Galloway returned to parliament last year after winning the Bradford West by-election. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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