Today (4 April) Ken Livingstone was suspended for a further year from the Labour Party as the result of a long delayed quasi judicial process that was not in accord with natural justice.
A three-member panel of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee found that Ken Livingstone had acted in a manner ‘prejudicial’ or ‘grossly detrimental’ to the Labour Party.
There was no charge against Ken Livingstone that he was or is anti-Semitic.
Ken Livingstone will be launching a campaign to overturn his suspension. To support this campaign visit here: bit.ly/reinstateken.
Ken Livingstone is giving active consideration to what further action to take.
Ken 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.
‘The Labour Party’s disciplinary process was not in accord with natural justice in a number or 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.
‘People in this country urgently need a Labour government.
‘ Scheduling the final day of this disciplinary hearing, on the day the Labour Party launched its campaign for the 4 May elections, was a supreme misjudgement by whoever planned this in the Labour Party Headquarters. It was clearly not in Labour’s interests as the hearing will inevitably generate unfavourable headlines at a time when Labour should be focussed on campaigning.
‘Labour members need to step up campaigning towards May’s elections and redouble our efforts to secure a Labour victory.
‘I will be launching a campaign to overturn my suspension of Party membership.’
Five Jewish Labour Party members, who gave evidence in support of Ken Livingstone at the hearing, issued the following statement:
‘We are appalled by the decision to continue the suspension of Ken Livingstone.
‘The case brought against Ken was not that he was antisemitic. Instead it was claimed that he upset a significant part of the UK’s Jewish population. This upset had been caused by his (accurate) statement that some Zionists and Hitler had wanted to get Jews out of Germany, and that prior to the War they reached a temporary agreement to help bring this about. The Zionist motivation was to increase the numbers of Jews going to Palestine.
‘If a political party adopts the principle that it suspends every member that upsets some part of the population where would it all end? Labour should respect freedom of expression.
‘The decision to continue the suspension Ken is mistaken. It is an attempt to protect Israel from criticism, while simultaneously weakening the position of Jeremy Corbyn, a principled supporter of Palestinian rights.
‘It is the verdict, not Ken Livingstone, that has bought the Labour Party into disrepute.’