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Labour to extend Ken Livingstone’s suspension from party

The Labour party has confirmed that the suspension would be extended to continue until the second internal party investigation is concluded.

    Ken Livingstone
    Ken Livingstone

    Ken Livingstone will not be readmitted into the Labour Party next month, it has been confirmed.

    His suspension over comments about Hitler and Zionism had been due to expire on April 27, two years after it was imposed.

    That had led to concerns that he would be able to enjoy the benefits of party membership again, despite a further inquiry into his conduct being under consideration.

    The party confirmed today, however, that the suspension would be extended to continue until the second internal party investigation is concluded.

    A Labour spokesman told the JC: “Ken Livingstone has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party pending the outcome of an internal party investigation.

    “That suspension starts on the date his membership suspension applied by the national constitutional committee ends on 27 April 2018.”

    The Huffington Post claimed the "administrative suspension" had been signed off by Iain McNicol, the outgoing Labour general secretary, yesterday and described the move as a "draconian" measure which is rarely used by party officials.

    Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, welcomed the news.

    He told the JC: "This decision is welcome, but long overdue. Almost a year has passed since Jeremy Corbyn announced that Mr Livingstone's conduct would be subject to further investigation with seemingly little action by the NEC.

    "It should not have required eleventh hour action by an outgoing general secretary to indefinitely suspend him.

    "It is time for decisive action from the NEC and the party's leadership: not just to expel Mr Livingstone for his gratuitously offensive remarks about Hitler and Zionism and his lack of remorse, but against all antisemites and their apologists infesting the Labour Party."

    The JC revealed on Wednesday that Jewish Labour activists and MPs had written to the party’s governing body to warn about further damage to the relationship with British Jews if Mr Livingstone was readmitted.

    The letter, signed by members of the Jewish Labour Movement, accused the former London Mayor of “deliberate and calculated offensive behaviour” towards the Jewish community since he was given a two-year suspension by the party over comments about Adolf Hitler, including the claim that the Nazi leader “supported Zionism before going mad”.

    It was reported on Sunday that Labour’s national executive committee was planning a new inquiry into allegations of antisemitism against Mr Livingstone after MPs reacted angrily to the suggestion he would be readmitted in April.

    The Observer reported that the NEC inquiry announced ten months ago by Jeremy Corbyn would probably be opened next month – just before the ending of his two-year suspension on April 27.

    The paper had claimed it was previously told by party sources that no further action was likely against Mr Livingstone.

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