Labour extends Ken Livingstone's suspension over antisemitism claims amid further complaints

Jewish activists had warned that there was ‘no future’ for Mr Livingstone in the party

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Thursday 01 March 2018 14:39
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The former London mayor has been suspended from the Labour Party following comments he made about Zionism
The former London mayor has been suspended from the Labour Party following comments he made about Zionism

Ken Livingstone’s suspension from the Labour Party over antisemitism allegations has been extended after fresh complaints about his conduct.

The former London mayor has been temporarily barred for two years for throwing the party “into disrepute” over comments he made about Zionism and Hitler in 2016.

Labour was due to consider whether he should be allowed back into the party at a meeting next month, but it has now emerged that he faces a fresh probe into other complaints about his behaviour.

It comes after senior Jewish activists warned the party’s ruling body that allowing Mr Livingstone to return could seriously harm Labour’s prospects during the upcoming local elections.

The Labour veteran is understood to have been the subject of further complaints since his membership was suspended for another year last April.

He will now face a second internal party investigation, which could result in disciplinary action.

In a letter to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), seen by the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) warned that his readmission would damage relations with the Jewish community.

It said: “If the Labour Party is serious about repairing its relationship with the Jewish community, there can be no future for Ken Livingstone in the Labour Party.

“Mr Livingstone’s readmission to full membership of the party [is] due to take place days before local elections across the country, on 28 April.

“Hardworking candidates and activists don’t deserve the indignity of the NEC undermining their efforts to win votes for the Labour Party by failing to act.”

The row centres on comments Mr Livingstone made in 2016, where he claimed Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s before he “went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Ken Livingstone has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party, pending the outcome of an internal party investigation.

“That suspension starts on the date that his membership suspension applied by the National Constitutional Committee ends on 27 April 2018.”

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