Ken Livingstone hints at possible House of Commons return

The former London Mayor said he was 'tempted' to return as an MP - in an interview where he also defended Vladimir Putin and said the UK should speak to Isis

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Ken Livingstone has hinted he may stage a return to the House of Commons.

The former Mayor of London said he would be “tempted” to return as an MP in an interview where he also defended Vladimir Putin and said the UK should negotiate with Isis. 

The Labour veteran - who was tipped to return to Parliament as a member of the House of Lords earlier this year - said: “Of course I would be tempted. I love running things and I love Jeremy”.

He said he would like to be a “minister for infrastructure” in party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet as he is “quite good on building stuff” in the interview with the Sunday Times

The politician, who was the MP for Brent East between 1987 and 2001 before serving two terms as mayor, has been called Mr Corbyn’s “attack dog” for his criticisms of former Labour front benchers.

In November, he was heavily criticised for saying then shadow armed forces minister Kevan Jones “needed psychiatric help” when the MP had spoken publicly about his battles with depression. 

Mr Livingston has been called Jeremy Corbyn's 'attack dog'

Mr Livingstone expressed his support for Mr Putin, in spite of a recent inquiry concluding the Russian president ‘probably’ personally ordered the assassination of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006

He said: “Killing people is appalling but there’s one simple fact. 

“American presidents authorised eight assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. I’m afraid great powers do terrible things.”

Mr Livingstone also said the UK should talk to Isis because its leaders just “fell into” the terror group in the wake of the Iraq war. 

He said: “A large part of their military are people that were in Saddam Hussein’s army.

“Because America and Britain just abolished the Iraqi army they were wandering around looking for something to do. 

“They’re most probably people you can negotiate with. The question is how many in Isis are completely mad fundamentalists . . . and how many just happened to be there because that was the only work going.”

He also reiterated his support for scrapping Trident but said the debate “wasn’t an issue” and the party should focus on the economy if it wants to win in 2020.

Mr Livingstone said the UK had to face up to the fact it had been a “second tier” nation since the Suez crisis in 1956 and would soon be replaced at the top table by nations “like Brazil” . 

He said: “We’re a bit player. I grew up in a world where we saw ourselves as up there with Russia and America. 

“We are not the leaders in the way my generation grew up believing”.