Ken Livingstone hits out at 'lies and smears about antisemitism' under Jeremy Corbyn's Labour

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone appeared on GB News to discuss the state of the Labour Party with Nigel Farage

Published

Mr Livingstone, 77, is perhaps best known for his two terms as London Mayor and for his time as leader of the Greater London Council.

Dubbed "Red Ken" due to his left-wing views, he has operated both within and outside the Labour Party.

But, appearing on GB News, host Nigel Farage pointed out that Mr Livingstone has always been a key backer of the Labour movement.

And Mr Livingstone shared his view on Sir Keir Starmer's chances of winning the next general election, noting that he has been "disappointed" in the current Labour leader.

Ken Livingstone discussed the Labour Party with GB News' Nigel Farage
Ken Livingstone discussed the Labour Party with GB News' Nigel Farage
Mr Livingstone in the GB News studio with Nigel
Mr Livingstone in the GB News studio with Nigel

He said: "He's been trying to accommodate to the right too much.

"If you want a good Labour victory at the next election, we have to have good, radical, socialist policies – like when Harold Wilson won in 1964."

To this, Nigel interjected: "That didn't work for [Jeremy] Corbyn, did it?"

Mr Livingstone responded: "When you actually look back, Jeremy had been leader for two years and then there was the 2017 election.

"He got the biggest increase in the Labour vote for 72 years and he came within two percent of defeating the Tories.

"But then you had all these lies and smears about antisemitism."

Taken aback, Nigel asked: "They were lies, were they?"

Mr Livingstone hit back: "Of course they were.

"I've been in the Labour Party since 1969. In all that time, I've never heard a single antisemitic comment. I've only ever heard one racist comment, back in 1970.

"The Labour Party has been the political home for the Jewish community for a century.

"When I got elected to Parliament, back in 1987, almost every Jewish MP was sitting on the Labour benches."

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Livingstone's comments come despite a report by the UK's human rights watchdog finding Labour to be responsible for "unlawful" acts of harassment and discrimination during Mr Corbyn's four-and a-half years as party leader.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) investigation identified serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process of handling antisemitism complaints.

Its report said the party was responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act: political interference in antisemitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism complaints and harassment.

The Forde Report last week also found that infighting within the party meant antisemitism was used as a “factional weapon” by Mr Corbyn's critics and denied by his supporters.