Livingstone says Nazi case is like Profumo affair

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Indy Politics

Ken Livingstone compared his legal travails yesterday to the scandals that engulfed John Profumo and Jeffrey Archer. The London Mayor made the comparison after rejecting claims that he had brought shame to his office by making a Nazi gibe to a Jewish reporter.

Mr Livingstone's lawyer, Tony Child, said the cases of Archer, a former Conservative deputy chairman, and Profumo, the Tory cabinet minister brought down by a sex scandal in the 1960s, involved individuals acting in a personal capacity, who had brought shame on themselves but had not affected the standing of their offices.

Mr Child said Mr Livingstone was acting as a private citizen when he verbally attacked a Jewish journalist from London's Evening Standard and it had no effect on the mayor's office. Mr Livingstone compared the reporter, Oliver Finegold, to a concentration camp guard, he said.

Mr Child was addressing the adjudication panel hearing into the case against the Mayor which resumed for its third day yesterday. The case was brought by the Standards Board for England after the Board of Deputies of British Jews complained about the Mayor's comments made in February last year. If he is found guilty of breaching the Greater London Authority's code of conduct, Mr Livingstone could face censure, be made to apologise or undergo training. Suspension or disbarment from office seems unlikely. Mr Child argued: "If people take the view that the words reflect badly on Ken Livingstone then he will have to take the consequences of that when he faces the electorate."

The panel was told that Mr Livingstone was expressing his "long-held and honestly held political view" of Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard. Mr Livingstone says he did not intend to offend the Jewish community.