A JEWISH carer has admitted punching and kicking Respect MP George Galloway but denied that it was religiously aggravated.

Neil Masterson, 39, a former Catholic but who has converted to the Jewish faith, approached Mr Galloway while the MP posed for pictures with two Moroccan men in Golborne Road, Notting Hill, London, on August 29 this year.

He then punched the Bradford West MP repeatedly, and pushed away another man, Mostafa Maroof, who tried to intervene.

Douglas Adams, prosecuting, said: "He (Mr Galloway) was approached by two members of the public who were of Moroccan descent and wanted to have photographs taken standing with Mr Galloway.

"The defendant was seen running towards Mr Galloway. It was obvious that he was running to assault Mr Galloway, who says he heard the Holocaust mentioned.

"Mr Galloway was punched six or seven times before being hauled away. While on the ground he was kicked to the face."

Masterson, who said he was on his way to buy groceries, then walked away and got on a bus as the former Glasgow MP called police.

Mr Adams said: "Mr Masterson is arrested getting off the bus. He said to officers 'I just do not want him to think I am scared. Galloway is anti-semitic and I am Jewish'.

"The policeman who arrested him said Mr Masterson said many things in support of the state of Israel."

Mr Adams said that officers said Masterson had attacked the politician because he is "a serpent and a fascist". He said: "He attacked Mr Galloway because he was an enemy of judaism."

The former Department for Work and Pensions employee and one-time BBC manager pleaded not guilty to religiously-aggravated assault.

In the dock, Masterson pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating Mr Galloway, and guilty to one count of common assault on Mr Maroof.

Masterson, of Campden Hill, Kensington, is a full-time carer for a woman who suffers from Crohn's disease, memory problems and an inflamed gall bladder.

This year Mr Galloway described his constituency as an "Israel-free zone".

During the assault, the 60-year-old suffered facial bruising.

He was taken to St Mary's Hospital in London's Paddington.

Jonathan Mann, defending, said: "He (Masterson) has had his difficulties but his difficulties have not brought him into contact with the law."

However, Judge Aidan Marron QC refused Masterson bail and set a trial date.

A woman in the public gallery screamed: "He is the kindest person you could ever meet.

"You do not even know him. You have not ever met him," before she was led out by a court usher.

Dundee-born Mr Galloway represented the Glasgow constituencies of Kelvin and Hillhead for Labour and is now a Respect MP.