Former White House strategist Steve Bannon and Labour’s George Galloway reportedly hugged each other at the 2019 Eurasian Media Forum in the Kazakh city of Almaty after learning about Theresa May’s resignation, according to a tweet by one of the journalists attending the event, BBC correspondent Natalia Antelava.
She posted that she had pulled a camera out “just as they let go of tight embrace”, adding that here is “the far right and far left very much on the same page in Almaty”.
“Theresa May has resigned” announced George Galloway. “Let me give you a hug,” Steve Bannon replied. I pulled a camera out just as they let go of tight embrace but here is the far right and far left very much on the same page in Almaty #Kazakhstan pic.twitter.com/96YNBmhv0X— natalia antelava (@antelava) 24 мая 2019 г.
According to Antelava, Galloway announced, “Theresa May has resigned”, to which Bannon replied, “Let me give you a hug”.
Despite being a lifelong socialist and ardent critic of right-wingers, Galloway, has in recent months found some alignment with the right end of the political spectrum over his desire for a hard Brexit
More specifically, the 64-year-old ex-MP announced earlier this year that he would support the Brexit Party in the upcoming European elections, having earlier claimed that he and party leader Nigel Farage were “allied in one cause”.
When asked on Twitter if the man in the picture standing with his face turned to Bannon after an apparent hug is really him, he responded:
“What do you want me to do after a televised debate — punch him?” Mr Galloway said, further backtracking a bit, however, in response to journalist George Monbiot’s question:
“You see me hugging anyone Georgie Boy?”
The picture caused a storm on Twitter, with many cheekily remarking that the interaction between the two is a demonstration of the so-called “horseshoe theory”:
Literally hanging off each end of the political horseshoe. Totalitarianism. Yummy. 😡— ……….boo 🔶️ 🇪🇺 (@ScrumptiousBlue) 24 мая 2019 г.
Horseshoe political theory becomes fact in one single photo. Bravo Natalia! pic.twitter.com/GYiCYkqG3Q— John Locke (@jlz0z) 24 мая 2019 г.
In light of this, there were those arguing that the political issue behind the “hug” is pressing and should stir genuine concerns:
That is a truly scary photo it shows the depths of the problem we face— edward blake (@tedward13) 24 мая 2019 г.
WTF is Galloway doing with Bannon???— Mary Francis (@maryeffrancis) 24 мая 2019 г.
One, however, opted for a reconciliatory remark, arguing that it’s all about populism in the political domain:
No — populism means populism (just coin a phrase 🤣)— Plamen Neykov 🇪🇺🇩🇪 #FBPE #FPHD (@plamen_neykov) 24 мая 2019 г.
Populism takes all sorts of forms although I'm astonished to see Galloway willing to even shake hands with Steve bannon.— robert 🌹 (@rob22_re) 24 мая 2019 г.
The reported hug came shortly after Theresa May nearly burst into tears while making a heartfelt resignation announcement on the steps of 10 Downing Street, amid a critical domestic impasse over the Brexit deal that the outgoing prime minister had earlier negotiated with the EU.
May will resign as Conservative leader on 7 June, but will remain in her role until a successor is chosen, including during the upcoming first state visit to the UK by POTUS Trump.