Ken Livingstone is facing a new investigation by Labour’s disciplinary panel over comments he has made since he was suspended from the party for linking Adolf Hitler with Zionism
Labour sources have confirmed tothe JC that another probe into the former Mayor of London “is under way”. It is said to centre on claims against Mr Livingstone since he was first suspended from the party in June 2016 and also his failure to show any remorse.
If found guilty of the new charges Mr Livingstone would almost certainly face expulsion from the party.
There had been fears among Jewish groups and campaigners that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would shelve any further investigation after he told a member of the audience at a BBC1’s Question Time pre-general election show that it “may or may not happen after the election”.
But party officials are now said to be taking the new investigation process “very seriously” and a leading QC has been appointed to make an initial assessment into the new charges against Mr Livingstone.
The new allegations are all believed to relate to Mr Livingstone’s repeated media interviews and conduct after his suspension.
After taking legal advice, those bringing the new complaints against Mr Livingstone are believed to have been advised not to revisit the original remarks on Hitler and Zionism.
It is thought that even if Labour’s National Constitutional Committee found in their favour, Mr Livingstone would use lawyers to attempt to overturn the decision in a Judicial Review.
More than 1,000 Jewish Labour members and supporters signed a letter published in the Guardian newspaper in April condemning the decision not to expel Mr Livingstone from the party.
The letter, signed by influential party members, including Luciana Berger MP, former deputy mayor of London Nicky Gavron and chair of the Jewish Labour Movement Jeremy Newmark, described Mr Livingstone’s comments as a “betrayal”.
In the last hearing, a disciplinary panel ruled Mr Livingstone should be suspended from the party for another year for bring the party into disrepute.
The panel technically imposed a two-year suspension from holding office in Labour, of which one year had already been served by the time of the hearing in April.
In a series of defiant interviews after the hearing, Mr Livingstone said he had nothing to apologise for.
He said: “If I’d said Hitler was a Zionist, I would say sorry. You can’t apologise for telling the truth.”
The decision not to expel Mr Livingstone permanently was met with dismay from critics. Jonathan Arkush, Board of Deputies president, said relations between Labour and the community had reached “a new all-time low”.
Questions were also raised over the make-up of the panel of three Labour NCC members who decided on Mr Livingstone’s fate.
The JC revealed one of the panel was Russell Cartwright – a member of the hard-left Campaign for Labour Party Democracy group who had previously campaigned for Mr Livingstone.
After April's NCC ruling Mr Corbyn had said Mr Livingstone's failure to apologise for "grossly insensitive" comments had been "deeply disappointing.".
Labour’s national executive committee dispute’s panel, the junior disciplinary body which refers serious cases of potential expulsion to the NCC, met earlier this month.
It is believed to have included discussion of the investigation into Mr Livingstone. But any new investigation into him is now unlikely to take place before the Labour Party conference in September.
A Labour Party spokeswoman confirmed the investigation was "ongoing" .