Ken Livingstone suspended by Labour for another year for his comments about Hitler

Adam Payne
Ken Livingstone

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

LONDON — The Labour Party has suspended Ken Livingstone for a further year for comments he made about Adolf Hitler and Zionism last year.

The party's National Constitutional Committee (NCC) ruled on Tuesday evening that the former mayor of London will have his current suspension extended by 12 months.

The suspension will stop Livingstone from representing Labour in office until April 28, 2018 — but his party membership has not been terminated.

The Jewish Labour movement described the punishment as "insufficient" and a "betrayal" of Labour values.

The group tweeted: "One year suspension is insufficient for a party the claims zero tolerance on antisemitism ... This is a betrayal of our Party's values. One year suspension allows for a revolving door for repeat offenders."

Livingstone sparked outrage both within the party and beyond last year when he told BBC radio presenter Vanessa Feltz that Nazi leader Hitler "was supporting Zionism ... before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews."

He has repeatedly defended his comments since the interview. Last week, he published a summary of his official defence that claimed a 1930s Nazi policy called the Transfer Agreement had "the effect of supporting Zionism."

He went on to say: "I did not make the equation of Hitler and Zionism. I neither criticised the Transfer Agreement or the section of Zionism that participated in the Agreement. I did not draw any historical parallels with the situation today anywhere, including with the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

"The holocaust against the Jews is the greatest racial crime of the 20th century."

Here is the Labour Party's official statement:

"The National Constitutional Committee (NCC) of the Labour Party has today found that all three charges of a breach of the Labour Party's rule 2.1.8 by Ken Livingstone have been found proved.

"The NCC consequently determined that the sanction for the breach of Labour Party rules will be suspension from holding office and representation within the Labour Party for two years. Taking account of the period of administrative suspension already served the period of suspension will end on 27 April 2018.

"The Labour Party will make no further comment on this matter."

Labour MPs criticised the NCC's decision not to kick out Livingstone for good. 

Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/849349449021370369
A new low for my party this evening. Appalling decision. Why is antisemitism being treated differently from any other form of racism? Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/849354001757990912
This pathetic Livingstone sentence is an important moment Labour members: do we stand for decency against this or are we part of the decay? Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/849356342850662400
Standing against racism is one of the many reasons I'm proud to be in the Labour Party. Today is a sad day for this movement. Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/849372588140892160
It's not enough to say the words "zero tolerance on antisemitism" - Labour has to put them into practice. Shameful decision today ...1/3

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis condemnded the ruling, saying: "The Labour Party has failed the Jewish community, it has failed its members and it has failed all those who believe in zero tolerance of ant-Semitism."

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