Ken Livingstone Suspension: The Fallout Continues

Livingstone defiant over 'antisemitic' comments

Livingstone defiant over ‘antisemitic’ comments

In case you’ve been in some remote part of the world with no wifi until this morning, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended from the Labour party on Thursday over remarks described as ‘antisemitic’.

Here’s a brief guide to the whole sorry episode:

Livingstone appeared on BBC Radio London and spoke in defence of Naz Shah (also recently suspended over allegedly antisemitic comments):

“It’s completely over the top but it’s not antisemitism. Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

Labour MP John Mann confronted Livingstone, calling him a ‘Nazi apologist’ and a ‘disgusting racist’. Livingstone hid in the toilet. Mann was later reprimanded by the chief whip over the confrontation.

Other Labour MPs, including Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan, called for Livingstone’s suspension, which wasn’t long in coming.

Livingstone, however, stood by his comments in an interview with the Evening Standard, saying:

“Everything I said yesterday was true and I will be presenting the academic book about that to the Labour Party inquiry.”

Everyone wrote about it, with many calling for Livingstone to be permanently expelled from the Labour party. The Guardian has a decent analysis of what happened and what it could mean for the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn.

And that’s the story so far.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Sadiq Khan, currently embroiled in a Mayoral battle with Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith for the top job at City Hall. Khan was quick to distance himself from Livingstone:

Could Livingstone’s actions sink Khan’s chances? The Telegraph thinks so, but I’m not convinced. Livingstone is more likely to be the author of his own downfall than anyone else’s.

Read Rachel Holdsworth’s interview with Sadiq Khan in Londonist.

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