Ken Livingstone suspended from Labour party for a year for Hitler comments

 
Jasper Jolly
Ken Livingstone Appears At A Labour Disciplinary Hearing
Ken Livingstone was formerly mayor of London (Source: Getty)

The Labour party has extended the suspension of former mayor of London Ken Livingstone for one year after saying Adolf Hitler supported Zionism, despite pressure for him to face expulsion.

Livingstone was found guilty of bringing the party into disrepute, but was not expelled by its National Constitutional Committee.

In a formal statement posted on his website Livingstone said: "‘Today’s Labour Party panel extended my suspension for another year because of my political views, not because I have done anything to harm the Labour Party."

He added: "I will be launching a campaign to overturn my suspension of Party membership.

Speaking to reporters after the tribunal's ruling, Livingstone said: "I expected the to expel me so I've now got to consider whether I challenge this legally or just live with it."

He added: "I felt the whole thing was like sitting through a court in North Korea" and said the original interview with Vanessa Feltz was a "crime against humanity".

He refused to back down from his comments, saying: "No one should be suspended for stating the truth."

Jeremy Newmark, leader of Jewish Labour, said: "It simply can't be acceptable in our party, a party founded on values of anti-racism, opposing bigotry and discrimination, that there's some kind of revolving door policy where you can revise the history of the Holocaust, duck out of the party for a year and then come back."

He added that leader Jeremy Corbyn needed to address the public, saying: "I think it's important now that we hear from the party leader precisely what zero tolerance on anti-Semitism means."

In April of last year, Livingstone said he had never seen evidence of anti-semitism in the Labour party in 47 years. He then said: "Let’s remember when Hitler won his election … his policy was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism."

Since then Livingstone has doggedly stuck to his argument in the face of intense criticism from members of the Labour party, resisting all calls for him to apologise.

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