George Galloway is running for London Mayor
George Galloway has said he would step aside if Diane Abbott was selected as the Labour candidate Getty

George Galloway has staked his claim at becoming London Mayor by saying he would create a city that benefited everyone and not just those "dripping in gold".

The Respect Party candidate tossed his hat into the ring last week after he was deposed as MP for Bradford West at the general election.

When speaking on BBC Sunday Politics Galloway, who was MP for Bethnal Green and Bow for five years between 2005-2010, said he offered something different for London, which was run by a "metropolitan elite".

"My pitch if that we need someone to speak up for the great majority of London and not just those dripping in gold," Galloway said.

He said the mayoralty race was full of "bland" candidates and that it might take "someone more interesting to take it by storm".

On his controversial views of Palestine and Israel, Galloway said he would use his position as Boris Johnson's successor to "encourage the huge swell of pro-Palestinian support in London", although he would not attempt to make London an "Israel-free zone" as he did in Bradford.

He also backed former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman, who in April was removed from office after he was found guilty of corruption while in office.

"Ken Livingstone and I think the that the campaign against Lutfur Rahman was unjust," he complained.

He held up the East London borough as an example of education standards after it resisted free schools and academies, and said Rahman should be have been judged by the electorate.

Galloway claimed that 20,000 people had signed up to support his campaign, but that he would pull out of the mayoral election if Hackney MP Diane Abbot was selected as Labour's candidate.

On his decision to enter the race to become mayor, Galloway said even though he was born in Dundee was a Labour MP in Glasgow, he had strong connections to London.

"I have lived in London for 35 years, my children were born and go to school here. I have a right put my hat in the ring."

Galloway has applied for his defeat in the general election to be overturned, claiming that there was "widespread malpractice" including candidates making false statements, and irregularities over postal votes.

He was also reported to the police on for breaking electoral law after allegedly releases results of polling data before polls had closed on 7 May.