GEORGE Galloway’s bid to become the next MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West is proving popular with donors.

At the time of going to press, more than 280 people had put their hands in their pockets to contribute to his crowdfunder.

It now totals around £8500 and will likely pass £10,000 by the start of the week.

Some of those backing Galloway’s new anti-independence party are well known in the Twitter “yoonsphere".

According to the crowdfunding site, Jill Stephenson – better known as history woman – has donated £50, Pauline Eggermont from Scotland in Union has put in £100, while the writer Tom Gallagher has handed over £45.

However, intriguingly, the biggest single donation comes from Katt Cremer, a central committee member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist) and a former candidate for the Birmingham Workers party.

She has donated £1000.

The next three biggest donations – each worth £200 – have come from backers who have chosen not to give their names.

According to The National’s analysis, at least 120 of those who have given money to Galloway’s campaign fund have done so anonymously.

Of the £8241 raised on the site at 10am yesterday, just under half, £3397, was from anonymous donors.

Electoral Commission rules mean that candidates don’t have to declare any donations or spending for a by-election campaign until what’s known as the “regulated period,” which starts the day after someone officially becomes a candidate.

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However, the earliest date someone can officially become a candidate is when a vacancy occurs.

Currently, the vacancy in Rutherglen and Hamilton West has not yet occurred.

The only way for a by-election to happen is either for Margaret Ferrier to stand down – which she has already ruled out – or for 10% of her constituents to spark a vote by signing a recall petition.

That process can only start if she is barred from the Commons for “10 sitting days or 14 calendar days”. And that can only happen once the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has investigated.

However, they’re unable to properly start their probe until the police investigation is finished.

Earlier this week Police Scotland revealed that they had submitted “an initial assessment” to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on Ferrier’s alleged breach of coronavirus rule.

In a short statement, the force said they were still “carrying out further inquiries”.

That means it could still be many, many months before there is a by-election.

Despite the healthy crowdfunder, there’s little fear of Galloway from the other parties.

Ged Killen, the former Labour MP for the area, who has expressed an interest in standing in any by-election, said: “People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West care as much about George Galloway as he does about us. I suspect most people don’t even know who he is.”

A local SNP source said: “We’re sure the people of Rutherglen will see this for the stunt it is, after all George Galloway has spent more time in the Big Brother house than he has in our constituency. If and when a by-election is called we will fight it on local issues of which Mr Galloway will know absolutely nothing.”

Meanwhile, Galloway’s party have been forced to change their name.

The Electoral Commission said they couldn’t be known as Alliance For Unity as it would likely “mislead voters as to the effect of their vote”. Last week, they submitted a new application with the watchdog, under the name All for Unity.