FIREBRAND politician George Galloway has urged students to back journalist Iain Macwhirter after pulling out of the race to become the next rector of Edinburgh University.
The Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, who represented Glasgow constituencies for Labour before being expelled from the party in 2003, said work pressures meant he would not be able to commit fully to the role.
"Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't do anything half-heartedly and I really wouldn't have been able to spend the time I would have wanted in Edinburgh," he said. Throwing his weight behind Mr Macwhirter's bid, he added: "I've admired his writing for a long time and I'm sure in a few years we'll be looking back at how well he accomplished this important role."
Mr Macwhirter now faces Labour MSP Lord George Foulkes for the post currently held by former Green MSP Mark Ballard.
Thousands of students and members of staff will cast their votes in an online poll between February 11 and 12.
The rectorship is an unpaid post with a period of office of three years.
It was held by Gordon Brown when he was still a student in the 1970s.