Ken Livingstone calls Labour antisemitism allegations 'lies and smears' by 'ghastly old Blairites'

Ex-London Mayor also says Jeremy Corbyn's office 'didn't want' him to be suspended from the party


Ken Livingstone, who quit Labour last year after a long-standing suspension because of his comments about Hitler and Zionism, has called allegations of Labour antisemitism "lies and smears" to bring down Jeremy Corbyn.

As revealed by the Mail on Sunday, the ex-London mayor told a meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt last week: "This is endemic. If you have a genuine socialist leader who is going to transform things for ordinary people and make the bloody corporations pay their fair share of tax – they will do whatever is necessary to stop you...

"That means lies and smears in most of the West. In other parts of the world it can mean assassination."

In recounting his how he was suspended for his comments in April, 2016, he also said: "Of course, Jeremy's office didn't want this to happen."

He also said the press had spread "lie after lie after lie" about what he said that led to his suspension.

He also repeated the false claim that accusations of antisemitism were first made against Mr Corbyn when he was poised to become Labour leader, though his statements and associations that concerned the Jewish community were widely reported in the years before that.

Mr Livingstone said: "I mean it was outrageous because it was still – and this was Jeremy’s big problem – a Labour machine controlled by all the ghastly old Blairites, convinced Jeremy was going to lead us to a wipeout, doing everything possible to get rid of him, and that’s what has fuelled all this stuff about antisemitism.

"At that stage, 80 per cent of Labour MPs thought we’d be wiped out at the next election. They didn’t believe Jeremy and his policies would connect with people. 

"And so that was the first time I started to hear accusations about antisemitism in the Labour party."

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