A brief history of lying

If Galloway proves to be innocent, he will join a large club of those who have been maligned by the intelligence services and the press for political reasons. A few examples:

Ramsay MacDonald: Damaged after securing a trade agreement with the USSR when a letter in the name of the president of Comintern, Gregory Zinoviev, was 'intercepted' on its way to Russia recommending 'sedition' in the UK. The letter is now widely accepted to have been forged by MI5 agents Sidney Reilly and Arthur Gregory.

Harold Wilson: Undermined by a series of bizarre rumours and the threat of 'exposure' by a group of MI5 agents, according to Spy Catcher author Peter Wright and other sources.

Tony Benn: Diagnosed 'insane' by The Sun in a story supported by 'quotes' from an American psychologist. The quotes were simply made up. The expert in question later described the words attributed to him as 'absurd'.

Arthur Scargill: Accused by the Daily Mirror of stealing £25,000 from the NUM to pay off his mortgage, and receiving funds from Libya. The then editor, Roy Greenslade, said last year: "I am now convinced that Scargill didn't misuse strike funds and that the union didn't get money from Libya."

Michael Foot: Accused by implication of being a Soviet spy by the Sunday Times. Its story, headed "KGB: Michael Foot was our agent", repeated the allegation that Russia funded Tribune during Foot's editorship - an allegation which originally appeared in a book by defector Oleg Gordievsky. The paper settled for £100,000 to avoid putting Maxwell in the dock.

Carmen Proetta: Labelled "anti-British" and accused of involvement in vice and drugs by the Sunday Times and called "The tart of Gib" by the Sun after appearing as an eye witness in the TV programme Death on the Rock, which argued that the SAS had executed four unarmed IRA members. She eventually received £300,000 in out of court settlements.