Ken Livingstone Quits Labour Party

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has quit the Labour Party following on-going disciplinary action. Livingstone said that he did not though accept comments he made were anti-semitic, although he apologised for any offence caused.

Livingstone said in a statement:

“After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party.

The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour Party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time – which is to replace a Tory government overseeing falling living standards and spiralling poverty, while starving our schools and the NHS of the vital resources they need.

We live in dangerous times and there are many issues I wish to speak up on and contribute my experience from running London… from the need for real action to tackle climate change, to opposing Trump’s war-mongering, to the need to end austerity and invest in our future here in Britain.

I do not accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor that I am in any way guilty of anti-Semitism. I abhor anti-Semitism, I have fought it all my life and will continue to do so.

I also recognise that the way I made a historical argument has caused offence and upset in the Jewish community. I am truly sorry for that.

Under Labour’s new general secretary I am sure there will be rapid action to expel anyone who genuinely has anti-Semitic views. I am loyal to the Labour Party and to Jeremy Corbyn. However any further disciplinary action against me may drag on for months or even years, distracting attention from Jeremy’s policies.

I am therefore, with great sadness, leaving the Labour Party.

We desperately need an end to Tory rule, and a Corbyn-led government to transform Britain and end austerity. I will continue to work to this end, and I thank all those who share this aim and who have supported me in my own political career”.

Livingstone’s decision comes two weeks after Shami Chakrabarti, the Shadow Attorney General, said that he should be expelled following his comments and behaviour. She said:

“It is very difficult to see that any rational decision-maker in the light of what has happened in the last two years could find a place for Mr Livingstone in our party at this moment”.

Labour Party Splits Over Decision Not to Expel Ken Livingstone

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, is under pressure today to comment on the decision of the party not to expel Ken Livingstone. The party’s disciplinary panel decided yesterday to suspend the former London Mayor for one year, despite Livingstone himself expecting to be expelled.

Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, issued a statement fiercely attacking the decision:

“I find it incomprehensible that our elected lay members on the disciplinary panel found Ken Livingstone guilty of such serious charges, and then concluded that he can remain a member of the Labour Party.

When I read the words of chief rabbi Mirvis, who says that ‘the Labour Party has failed the Jewish community, it has failed its members and it has failed all those who believe in zero tolerance of anti-semitism’, I can’t disagree with him. I wish I could, but I can’t. I am ashamed that we have allowed Mr Livingstone to cause such distress.

It isn’t just Jewish people who feel disgusted and offended by what Mr Livingstone said and by the way he has conducted himself over this matter, and it isn’t just Jewish Labour members who feel ashamed of any indulgence of his views anywhere in the Labour Party. This shames us all, and I’m deeply saddened by it.

Mr Livingstone’s unrepentant media appearances in recent days have continued to discredit the party I love. His current behaviour is still bringing the Labour Party into disrepute. It is hard not to conclude that his use of inflammatory language to dismiss the fully justified outrage of the Jewish community and others will incite further distortions of the Holocaust in our public discourse.

My party is not living up to its commitment to have a zero tolerance approach to anti-semitism. I will continue the fight to ensure that it does, and I will press my colleagues to do so too”.

Lord Levy, a Labour Peer and former special envoy to the Middle East, said:

“Do I stay in the party? It is something that I’m going to reflect on very seriously. I am very upset with the party’s attitude. I do not believe there has been a zero-tolerance policy towards antisemitism”.

Jon Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, Barry Gardiner, the Shadow International Trade Secretary and Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, have all today said that Livingstone should have been expelled.

 

Ken Livingstone says he expects to be expelled from the Labour Party

Ken Livingstone, the former Labour Mayor of London, has said that he expects to be expelled from the Labour Party. His comments were made in advance of a party hearing into his conduct which is being held later today and he said:

“I expect to be expelled, I always have done, because the national constitutional committee has got 10 right-wingers and two left-wingers.
If I am expelled from the Labour party, we will seek judicial review, but we won’t submit that until after the local elections are over”.

The party suspended Livingstone over comments he made in 2016 over Israel, when he was being accused of being anti-Semitic. Jeremy Newmark, from the Jewish Labour Movement, said of Livingstone:

“He has a seemingly consistent need to calibrate his language to cause maximum hurt and pain to Jewish people and Holocaust survivors in this country has created a situation where there can no longer be a place for him inside our party”.

Shami Chakrabarti Admits to Being a Labour Party Member

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Shami Chakrabarti, the former director of the pressure group Liberty, has admitted that although she is leading an independent inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party, she is a party member.

She said that:

“I wanted Labour party members and supporters to trust that, while I am independent of any person or group or wing of the party, I am conducting this inquiry with their best interest and values at heart”.

She added that Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, would not be called to evidence in her inquiry due to his current suspension from the party. She added that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the party, would though be called to give evidence.

Britain’s Chief Rabbi says Labour Have a Problem with Anti-Semitism

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Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi, has warned about the spread of anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Writing in the Daily Telegraph he also criticised the intervention of the union leader Len McCluskey.

The Rabbi said:

“It is astonishing to see figures on the hard Left of the British political spectrum presuming to define the relationship between Judaism and Zionism despite themselves being neither Jews nor Zionists. The likes of Ken Livingstone and Malia Boattia claim that Zionism is separate from Judaism as a faith; that it is purely political; that it is expansionist, colonialist and imperialist”.

Referring to comments made by McCluskey about anti-semitism allegations being mood music, the Rabbi added:

“In recent days, we have heard anti-Semitism in the Labour Party described variously as ‘a smear’ and as ‘mood music’ being manipulated by political opponents of Jeremy Corbyn. There has been nothing more disheartening in this story than the suggestion that this is more about politics than about substance”.

He also rejected comments from senior figures in the Labour Party including Jeremy Corbyn, who have denied that the party has a serious problem with anti-semitism. He wrote:

“Comments from senior and long-standing members of the Labour Party, both Jewish and not, show just how severe the problem has now become”.

The Rabbi did though welcome the comprehensive inquiry which had been announced by the Labour Party.

Andy Burnham Admits that Labour Has Been Slow to Deal With Antisemitism

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Andy Burnham, the Shadow Home Secretary, has said on BBC’s Question Time that the Labour Party has been slow to tackle recent cases of antisemitism within the party.

Burnham said:

“These allegations, when they are surfacing, are not being dealt with properly and quickly enough. They need to be dealt with much more speedily in the future”.

Burnham’s comments come after criticism was made over how the party dealt with Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone.

Yvette Cooper, the former Shadow Home Secretary, also said last night:

“The Labour party needs to do more than simply to have suspensions of people who have been saying antisemitic things”.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, rejected a question that the Labour Party was now in crisis, saying:

“It’s not a crisis. There’s no crisis. Where there is any racism in the party it will be dealt with, it will be rooted out”.

Labour Suspend Ken Livingstone

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The Labour Party has confirmed that it has suspended Ken Livingstone following his earlier comments about anti-semitism.

Over twenty Labour MPs called for his resignation including Chris Byrant, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, who said:

“I’m sick and tired of people trying to explain it away and, yes, I’m talking to you Ken Livingstone”.

A Labour party spokesman said that there would be an investigation following allegations that Ken Livingstone had “brought the party into disrepute”.

 

Calls for Ken Livingstone to be Suspended from the Labour Party after Comments on Israel

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Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has caused controversy by commenting on Naz Shah’s Twitter post and the ensuing outcry.

Livingstone said:

“I’ve never heard anybody say anything anti-Semitic, but there’s been a very well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israeli policy as anti-Semitic”.

Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said on Twitter following Livingstone’s comments:

“Ken Livingstone must be suspended from the Labour Party”.

Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, also called for Livingstone’s resignation, saying:

“Ken Livingstone has form on antisemitism and has been tolerated for far too long. He should be suspended immediately”.

Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate for London Mayor, said:

“Ken Livingstone’s comments are appalling and inexcusable. There must be no place for this in our Party”.

Conor McGinn, the Labour MP for St. Helen’s North said:

“I’ve given Ken Livingstone a fool’s pardon in recent months. But his comments on anti-semitism are appalling. We can’t allow this to go on”.

Stella Creasey, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, said on Twitter:

“Not in my name #kenlivingstone – he should be suspended immediately without ecquivocation. Our #labourfamily has no place for such bigotry”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s office is yet to comment.

Jeremy Corbyn Side-Lined as the Labour Party Suspend Naz Shah

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Naz Shah, the controversial MP who admitted posting hate comments, has been suspended from the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn, the leader, had refused to sanction such an action.

The Leader’s Office, which was briefing earlier that Shah shouldn’t be suspended, hasn’t yet commented on why the decision was made. Ken Livingstone criticised the Labour Party’s decision and said:

“What she said was over the top and offensive but it wasn’t antisemitic”.

Ken Livingstone Criticised after Jimmy Savile Comment

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Ken Livingstone, the former Labour London Mayor, has been criticised for making comments about Jimmy Savile when speaking to LBC Radio. His comments came just weeks after controversial comments Livingstone made about Hilary Benn, Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn.

Referring to Dan Jarvis’s speech yesterday Livingstone said:

“The other thing to say about Dan Jarvis. If you’re really Labour, what are you doing taking thousands of pounds from hedge-fund managers? Hedge-fund managers have been the most rapacious and damaging form of capitalists that we’ve had. It’s absolutely bizarre. It’s a bit like Jimmy Savile funding a children’s group”.

Michael Dugher, the Labour MP for Barnsley East, said:

“Ken Livingstone is not fit to lace Dan Jarvis’s boots”.

Jamie Reed, the Labour MP for Copeland, also criticised the former London Mayor, saying:

“No regard for the victims, no regard for the pain and anger he will have caused, and no care for the damage he continues to do to Labour. It’s another embarrassment. I look forward to his shame-faced apology for his latest sickening outburst”.

Ian Austin, the Labour MP for Dudley North said on Twitter:

“Disgusting. Just disgusting. No other word for it. Ken Livingstone’s comments are disgusting, disgusting, disgusting, disgusting”.

Ken Livingstone has yet to apologise for his comments.