Tories try to link Sadiq Khan to antisemitism row despite condemnation

Boris Johnson said there was an 'ideological continuum' between Ken Livingstone and Sadiq Khan

Labour's Sadiq Khan
Labour's Sadiq Khan

Boris Johnson has tried to link Labour’s Sadiq Khan to alleged antisemitic comments by Ken Livingstone – despite Mr Khan having branded them as “inexcusable”.

Labour was engulfed in a row over antisemitism this week after it emerged that one of its MPs, Naz Shah, had endorsed a plan to relocate Israel to North America.

Mr Livingstone took to the airwaves on Thursday to defend Ms Shah’s action but found himself also suspended after making a historical reference to Adolf Hitler in a discussion about Israel.

Mr Khan was the first high-profile Labour figure to call for Mr Livingstone to be suspended.

“Ken Livingstone's comments are appalling and inexcusable. There must be no place for this in our Party,” the Labour candidate had tweeted around an hour after the controversial interview aired on BBC London.

However Mr Johnson, the outgoing Mayor of London, has tried to leverage the row over Mr Livingstone into the Conservative mayoral campaign.

He told LBC Radio on Thursday afternoon there was an “ideological continuum” between the two politicians, despite Mr Khan’s loud criticism of Mr Livingstone.

“There’s plainly some sort of virus of anti-Semitism within the Labour party that needs to be addressed,” he said.

Boris Johnson accused Mr Khan of having an 'ideological continuum' with Mr Livingstone

“It seems to me there’s an ideological continuum between the views of Ken Livingstone about Israel and the position of Jeremy Corbyn and indeed the views of their candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan.”

The Tories’ campaign to elect Zac Goldsmith as Mayor of London has been forced to deny suggestions that it is running a “racist” operation.

It has previously described Mr Khan, who is a Muslim, as “radical”, and has sought to highlight instances where he had met with “extremist” figures.

Critics have suggested the core strategy of Mr Goldsmith’s campaign is to draw attention to Mr Khan’s faith.

Mr Johnson appeared to call into question Mr Khan’s sincerity over his condemnation of Mr Livingstone.

John Mann MP call Ken Livingstone MP a 'Nazi apologist'

“I think it’s very prudent of the Labour party candidate to do that – although I note that Sadiq Khan had previously called upon Ken Livingstone’s services as an adviser and indeed Sadiq Khan had nominated Jeremy Corbyn, as I recall, to be leader of the Labour party,” Mr Johnson added.

The outgoing Mayor himself was criticised last week for suggesting that US president Barack Obama might have an ancestral” dislike of Britain due to his “party-Kenyan” heritage.

Londoners will vote to elect the Mayor of London and London Assembly on 5 May 2016. The elections take place on the same day as Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, and some local and police elections.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in