Livingstone may be banned for 'Nazi' gibe

Ken Livingstone has refused to apologise since likening a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard at a reception six months ago. As calls from the Jewish community and politicians from all parties mounted for an apology, he argued that he had been rude to reporters for nearly 25 years and that he would continue to be so.

It was announced yesterday that he would be called to appear before the independent Adjudication Panel for England to face allegations that he failed to treat others with respect.

The Mayor's office said the Standards Board for England - the local-government watchdog - had found no evidence that he had failed to comply with the Greater London Authority's code of conduct. But it acknowledged that he still faced accusations that he had treated a journalist with disrespect, and this matter had been referred to the president of the Adjudication Panel.

If the tribunal finds against him, Mr Livingstone could be banned from office for up to five years, ordered to make an apology, suspended, made to undergo training, or censured.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews referred the case to the Standards Board in February after Mr Livingstone asked the Evening Standard reporter Oliver Finegold whether he had ever been a "German war criminal".

On hearing that Mr Finegold was Jewish, the Mayor likened him to a Nazi guard. The Mayor, who has had a long-running and very public feud with the news-paper, stressed that he was anti-racist and that his comments were meant to underline his disgust for Associated Newspapers, which owns the Standard and the Daily Mail.

A spokesman for the Standards Board said that the public hearing could be held in early December.

Past cases of "rudeness" or "verbal abuse" upheld by the panel have attracted sanctions ranging from none to a three-year disqualification.

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