A Jewish activist angered by Labour’s failure to expel Ken Livingstone has come up with the most public way to express his anger.
The man, who refuses to divulge his identity, has hired a light aircraft to trail a banner reading “Expel Ken! Corbyn Out” over Wembley Stadium during Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Arsenal.
The message, which will appear in the skies shortly before half-time at exactly 3.41pm, will be seen by the 90,000 capacity crowd and potentially hundreds of thousands of viewers watching on television.
The activist raised the money to pay for the hire of the plane through an online crowdfunding campaign, with 88 people donating £3,146.
Pilot Simon Moores, whose company Airads has been commissioned to make the flight, confirmed it will go ahead on Sunday despite the campaign not yet reaching the £5,000 cost of the hire.
Mr Moores said: “I am being flexible with payment. The client is moving towards the target. We have done test flights and it is going ahead as planned.”
The unnamed activist said he organised the campaign after last month’s decision by Labour to suspend Mr Livingstone rather than expel him for claiming that Hitler supported Zionism.
The activist said: “It was a disgrace. Failing to expel Mr Livingstone sent a message that Labour will tolerate calculated distortions of history.
“By allowing the distortion of the antisemitism of the past, Labour risks becoming an incubator for the antisemitism of the future.
“The situation has become absurd. Sometimes an absurd situation needs an absurd response and this plane ticks the boxes in that respect.”
He said he was inspired by Arsenal fans flying a banner over one of the club’s Premier League matches earlier this season calling for the dismissal of manager Arsène Wenger.
He chose the semi-final as a suitable occasion because the Labour leader supports Arsenal and because Mr Livingstone is a former MP for Brent East, near to where Wembley Stadium is located.
He said: “It was Arsenal fans who flew planes over a match when they wanted to send a message about Arsenal's leadership. We want to send a message about Labour's. Mr Corbyn's an Arsenal fan and Wembley is in Ken Livingstone's Brent stamping ground.
“Arsenal fans can't budge Wenger. Labour can't budge Mr Corbyn. But even if you think it's time for Wenger to go, he has an illustrious history. Under Mr Corbyn, Labour's never been out the relegation zone.
“Mr Livingstone's claimed he can't walk down the street without people coming up to him to tell him he's right. To him I'd say: ‘Here's a plane that a lot of people have chipped in for to tell you you're wrong’.”