Former London mayor Ken Livingstone says he has been suspended from the Labour Party for one further year over controversial comments about Adolf Hitler and Zionism, following a disciplinary hearing in London.
Livingstone, who had threatened to launch a judicial review if he was expelled from the party, said he would now consult with lawyers about his legal position.
The former London mayor avoided being expelled after a hearing of the party’s highest disciplinary body that had been due to conclude on Friday, but stretched into a third day.
The Jewish Labour Movement immediately tweeted: “This is a betrayal of our party’s values. One year suspension allows for a revolving door for repeat offenders. [It is] insufficient for a party the claims zero-tolerance on anti-Semitism.”
A Labour Party spokesman said: “The National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party has today found that all three charges of a breach of the Labour Party’s rule 2.1.8 by Ken Livingstone have been found proved. The NCC consequently determined that the sanction for the breach of Labour Party rules will be suspension from holding office and representation within the Labour Party for two years.
“Taking account of the period of administrative suspension already served the period of suspension will end on 27 April 2018. The Labour Party will make no further comment on this matter.”
Livingstone confirmed: “Today’s panel extended my suspension for another year because of my political views, not because I have done anything to harm the Labour Party. The Labour Party’s disciplinary process was not in accord with natural justice in a number of ways. For example the panel hearing was not held in public, despite the fact that it could have been under Labour’s rules. I was suspended for more than 11 months before the hearing was held.”
A new low for my party this evening. Appalling decision. Why is antisemitism being treated differently from any other form of racism?
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) April 4, 2017
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush was quick to condemn the party for its failure to expel Livingstone, saying: “Relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community have reached a new all-time low. It is a year since Ken Livingstone’s outrageous comments on Hitler and Zionism. After 12 months of indecision, despite finding him guilty of all three charges, the Labour Party has decided to suspend him from holding office for just one year despite his shameless, disgraceful and tendentious attempts to link Zionism to Nazism. All we can conclude from this hopelessly wrong decision is that the party has an enduring problem with anti-Semitism to which is it is unwilling to face up.”