Camden Labour members ‘in despair’ as Ken Livingstone remains in party despite ‘intolerable’ remarks

PUBLISHED: 13:01 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:11 05 April 2017

Ken Livingstone.   Picture: Lauren Hurley

Ken Livingstone. Picture: Lauren Hurley

PA Wire/PA Images

The Labour Party’s National Constitutional Committee has been condemned by politicians in the area after it chose not to expel former London mayor Ken Livingstone for saying Hitler once supported Zionism.

Keir Starmer.    Picture: Nick Ansell/PAKeir Starmer. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq wrote to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today to say the decision to suspend Mr Livingstone for two years was “intolerable” and brings “great shame” on the party.

She said members have been contacting her “in despair” and that some see this as “the final straw and have terminated their membership”.

She added: “As a teenager, I joined the party whilst living in the heart of the Jewish community in Hampstead.

“For that community and for Jews across the country, last night’s outcome was desperately disappointing, as it was for all those dedicated to anti-racism in our movement.”

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip SiddiqHampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq

Ms Siddiq also said she does not believe Mr Corbyn wishes to lead a party where “manipulations of the Holocaust are allowed to stand” and asked him to request an emergency review of the Livingstone decision.

Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer, meanwhile, said Mr Livingstone – having been found guilty of bringing Labour into disrepute – should have been expelled.

He added: “There can be no place for this in our party and we need to send a very clear message.”

Leader of Camden Council Sarah Hayward said she was “appalled” by the decision to not expel Mr Livingstone.

Cllr Sarah HaywardCllr Sarah Hayward

“His comments were offensive in the extreme.

“Livingstone’s comments should be anathema to anyone who believes in the Labour Party’s core values of tackling inequality and fighting for social justice.”

She said it was important to remember that in Mr Livingstone’s original remarks last year, he also defended Bradford West MP Naz Shah after she posted an image suggesting the relocation of Israeli Jews to the United States, adding it might “save [the Americans] some pocket money”.

Mr Livingstone said the comment was “over the top”, but not anti-Semitic.

Ms Shah later apologised for her remarks.

Mr Livingstone was suspended in April last year after claiming Hitler supported Zionism in the 1930s before he “went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.

He insisted he had never said Hitler was a Zionist, only that Hitler had supported Zionism at one time.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express