Labour’s National Executive Committee plans a new inquiry into allegations of antisemitism against Ken Livingstone after an angry reaction from MPs to the suggestion that he would be imminently readmitted to the party.
The Observer reported that the NEC inquiry into the former London Mayor announced ten months ago by Jeremy Corbyn would probably be opened next month – just before the ending of his two-year suspension on 27 April. The paper had claimed it was previously told by party sources that no further action was likely against Mr Livingstone.
He was suspended from the party in April 2016 following an interview with the BBC in which he said Hitler supported Zionism in the 1930s. After an inquiry by Labour's National Constitutional Committee, he was suspended for a further year for bringing the party into disrepute. But fury at his lack of repentance prompted Jeremy Corbyn to immediately announce the NEC inquiry. But nothing has happened since.
Labour MP Stella Creasy tweeted that Mr Livingstone had shown no remorse for "his antisemitic comments and pain caused. To be party of equality and social justice able to represent all of Britain we cannot let ourselves get sucked into this vortex of hate."
Fellow MP Ruth Smeeth, who has suffered antisemitic abuse on social media, said Mr Livingstone “continues to bring the party into disrepute” and had "no place in the party”.
Wes Streeting, chair of the All Party Parliamentary group on British Jews, said the suggestion of Mr Livingstone returning to the party would cause “irreparable damage to the party’s standing and reputation”.
Mr Livingstone had told the Observer that the matter was “dead” and that he had done nothing wrong. If expelled from the party, he would take legal action.
“I did not say Hitler was a Zionist. What I referred [to] was an agreement between German Zionists and the Nazi government in 1933 [the so-called Haavara agreement] and you can’t expel someone for stating historical fact when you have done nothing about those Labour MPs screaming that I was a Nazi apologist and all that garbage.”