Ken Livingstone, the co-chairperson of Labour’s defence review, has snubbed the view of Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, that the party’s review shouldn’t consider Britain’s membership of NATO.
Livingstone has earlier in the week said that the question of NATO membership would be considered but this was immediately rejected by Jeremy Corbyn. A spokesman for the Labour leader said on Thursday that:
“We will not look at our membership of NATO”.
The Daily Telegraph is today reporting that Livingstone rejected this saying that “we are going to review”.
Lady Janet Royall, the former Labour Leader in the House of Lords, has criticised Ken Livingstone after his surprise intervention in the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. In an interview during the reshuffle Livingstone called for Benn to be sacked from his role as Shadow Foreign Secretary.
Royall, writing on Twitter, called his intervention as “an outrageous comment”. The full details of the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle have yet to be confirmed.
Ken Livingstone, the former Labour Mayor of London, has said that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, should sack Hilary Benn from his role as the Shadow Foreign Secretary. Livingstone made his intervention on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme today.
“There is a problem if – as we had with the debate on Syria – our principle spokesman on that stands up at the end of the debate and puts forward a completely different line to the leader of the Labour Party”.
He added that:
“Allowing genuine debate is one thing, but all we had was days of press coverage about splits between Jeremy Corbyn and Hilary Benn. I think that’s counterproductive”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s office refused to comment on the speculation.
Senior Labour figures have called on Ken Livingstone to resign after he blamed the 7/7 bombings in London on Tony Blair. 52 people died in the terrorist attacks which took place in July 2005.
Livingstone was defending the controversial comments he made on last week’s BBC Question Time. Livingstone is currently the joint chairman of Labour’s defence review, a position to which he was appointed two weeks ago by Jeremy Corbyn.
Ian Murray, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, said:
“Ken Livingstone should do the right thing and remove himself from front-line Labour Party politics and apologise to the British people for what is a deplorable way to conduct himself”.
Angela Smith, the Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said that Livingstone “should resign”.
Ken Livingstone defended his position saying:
“I merely told the truth – that Tony Blair was warned that if you go into Iraq you increase the risk of a terrorist attack in this country”.
Ken Livingstone, the former London Mayor, has said that Tony Blair should take responsibility for the 7/7 killings in London. The terrorist attack took place in the capital on 7 July 2005 with 52 people being killed and over 700 injured.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time Livingstone said:
“They gave their lives, they said what they believed, they took Londoners lives in protest against our invasion of Iraq”.
Matt Forde, a former Labour adviser who was also on the programme said:
“Blame it on the people who carried out the atrocity”.
Mike Gapes, the Labour MP for Ilford South called the comments “despicable”.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, is facing resignations from the Shadow Cabinet after he refused to back the Government’s proposals for air strikes in Syria.
Corbyn has cancelled a trip to campaign in the Oldham West by-election in order to deal with the division in the party. Corbyn had previously insisted that the party vote as one over the issue as air strikes and Diane Abbott, the Shadow International Development Secretary, said:
“Jeremy appoints the shadow cabinet – not the other way round. You cannot have a shadow cabinet voting down the leader of the Labour Party who has just been elected with the biggest mandate in history”.
However, Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Secretary said that the case for air strikes was “compelling”. A meeting of the Shadow Cabinet took place yesterday when there was opposition to the leader’s plans but a decision was taken to delay deciding on a final policy. Instead of the delay Corbyn then confirmed that Labour would not support air strikes.
Ken Livingstone, the former London Mayor, suggested that Corbyn would have to climb-down over his decision over not holding a free vote. Livingstone said on BBC’s Question Time:
“You can’t force people to vote to kill other people or not to vote to kill them”.