Lewis slams Livingstone's Hamas interview

By Leon Symons, September 18, 2009
Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone

Foreign office minister Ivan Lewis has criticised former mayor of London Ken Livingstone for “handing a propaganda coup” to the terrorist organisation Hamas.

The latest edition of the New Statesman magazine carried a lengthy interview by Mr Livingstone of Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas, who lives in exile in Syria.

In a statement, Mr Lewis said: “Ken Livingstone rightly earned praise for his strong and responsible leadership in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks on London.

“It is therefore particularly regrettable that he learned the wrong lessons from history by handing a propaganda coup to the leader of a terrorist organisation.

“Hamas has not only breached international law by firing rockets at civilian populations in Israel but continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Mr Lewis visited Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as several Arab countries, during the summer.

During his time as Mayor, Mr Livingstone was criticised for inviting to London Muslim cleric Sheikh Qaradawi, who had condoned suicide bombings.

Last updated: 1:37pm, September 18 2009