Chakrabarti: Ken Livingstone has brought Labour ‘repeatedly into disrepute’

Chakrabarti: Ken Livingstone has brought Labour ‘repeatedly into disrepute’

Shadow attorney general calls for former London mayor to be kicked out of the party following his remarks about Hitler and Zionism

Shami Chakrabarti on Sunday Politics
Shami Chakrabarti on Sunday Politics

Ken Livingstone can no longer remain in the Labour Party due to his controversial comments regarding Hitler and Zionism, shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti has said.

In a blistering attack on the former London mayor, Ms Chakrabarti said Mr Livingstone had brought shame upon the party and Labour now needed to apologise to the Jewish community.

The comments came as Mr Livingstone, who is suspended from the party due to his claim that Hitler supported Zionism in the 1930s, has signalled he will resist any move to expel him.

Ms Chakrabarti told BBC One’s Sunday Politics: “I don’t believe that Ken Livingstone can any longer be in the Labour Party.

“We can’t run away from the fact that he has repeated really, really incendiary remarks.

“To compare somebody who was trying to escape Nazis with Nazis themselves, and to do so again, and again, and again and again, even when you know that this has caused the deepest hurt and upset and embarrassment to the party, is completely unacceptable in my view.”

The shadow attorney general, who produced a report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party which some Jewish groups branded a whitewash, added: “I find it very difficult, very difficult now to see how any rational decision maker could allow Mr Livingstone to stay in our party.

“He has brought it repeatedly into disrepute. He has brought shame upon it, and his own legacy.

“And we need to apologise to Jewish members, supporters and voters for the insult, the incendiary remarks equating people trying to escape Nazis with Nazis themselves.”

Ms Chakrabarti indicated that the Livingstone controversy had damaged Labour in recent local elections.

The former London mayor, who has been suspended for the past two years, has described the allegations against him as a “big smear”.

Mr Livingstone was originally suspended in 2016 following a radio interview in which he said: “Hitler was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

However, he argued that he had not actually said Hitler was a Zionist.

Ms Chakrabarti said “factionalism” in the party was part of the reason why her report has not been fully implemented after two years.

She said: “On the one hand there were some people, maybe there still remains a minority of people, who think that to be loyal to the leader, to Jeremy Corbyn, is to look away from this problem that exists in society, that exists on the right of politics and yes exists on the left of politics.

“I think at times there were people who claimed to be supportive of Jeremy, who looked the other way, for example when they were involved in disciplinary processes, but I’m sorry to say the factional problem worked the other way too and there were sometimes people charged with dealing with disciplinary cases who would rather leak the bad behaviour to the newspapers than actually produce sound legal cases against people who really should have faced more robust discipline in my view.”

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