Ken Livingstone ditched as candidate for Labour's ruling NEC after 'Hitler' row

The former mayor of London had be due to stand of a left-wing slate of candidates

Jon Stone
Tuesday 10 May 2016 15:58
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Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone has been dropped as a candidate in Labour’s internal elections, it has been announced.

The former Mayor of London was due stand on a left-wing slate of candidates for the party’s national executive committee (NEC), which he currently sits on.

Mr Livingstone was drawn into a row about alleged antisemitism in the Labour party after raising Adolf Hitler in a discussion about Zionism.

He was subsequently suspended by the party and refused to apologise for what he said, thought he has apologised for any offence caused.

The veteran left-winger, who left the Greater London Council in the 1980s, will be replaced on the slate by Rhea Wolfson, a Scotland-based activist with the GMB union.

Ms Wolfson is a former secretary of London Young Labour and was president of Oxford University’s Jewish society.

Mr Livingstone’s name recognition was believed to be a key asset for the left-wing slate, leading to more nominations by local constituency Labour parties.

The NEC is the main authority in the party and currently has a majority favourable to leader Jeremy Corbyn on it.

After Mr Livingstone made his comments Jon Lansman, chair of the left-wing Momentum campaign group and organizer of the left-wing Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) slate, criticised the former Mayor.

“A period of silence from Ken Livingstone is overdue, especially on antisemitism racism and Zionism,” he said. “It’s time he left politics altogether.”

Mr Livingstone’s dismissal comes after shadow chancellor John McDonnell congratulated and thanked Momentum for their work mobilizing activists and supporting candidates in the recent local elections.

“On behalf of the Labour Party and its leadership, I would like to express my sincere thanks to each and every Momentum member and supporter who played a part in our tremendous effort to secure Labour wins in the elections last week,” he said in a message sent to Momentum supporters.

He said Momentum activists were “particularly active” in marginal areas in the South of England with Conservative MPs – where the party did better than expected.

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