Ken Livingstone on 'Islamophobic' Gove

Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has claimed Education Secretary Michael Gove is "stridently Islamophobic".

Mr Livingstone made his comments in an interview after being asked about his invitation to controversial Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi during his time as mayor.

He said "fervent Zionists" such as Mr Gove had wanted to "isolate" Sheikh al-Qaradawi because of his criticisms of Israel.

Mr Livingstone added: "Just look at [Gove's] writings and the general tone he takes is to depict Islam as genuinely a threat. He's at the extreme end of this."

He told the London Loves Business website that "people like Michael Gove and others have been stridently Islamophobic for some time, and they assume there are votes in this".

Last year the Labour stalwart was forced to pay an estimated £11,000 in damages to former Tower Hamlets Council leader Michael Keith after accusing him of Islamophobia.

Last updated: 6:25pm, November 23 2011