After Shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones suggested Ken might not be an expert on defence, Livingstone told the Mirror:
“I think he might need some psychiatric help. He’s obviously very depressed and disturbed. He should pop off and see his GP.”
Jones has suffered from depression, as he spoke about in parliament:
“Now I am going to throw my notes away—I thought long and hard last night about whether to do this—and talk about my own mental health problems. 1n 1996, I suffered quite a deep depression related to work and other things going on in my life. This is the first time I have spoken about this. Indeed, some people in my family do not know about what I am going to talk about today. Like a lot of men, I tried to deal with it myself—you do not talk to people. I hope you realise, Mr Speaker, that what I am saying is very difficult for me.
I have thought very long and hard about this and did not actually decide to do this until I just put my notes down. It is hard, because you do not always recognise the symptoms. It creeps up very slowly. Also, we in politics tend to think that if we admit to fault or failure we will be looked on disparagingly by the electorate and our peers. Whether my having made this admission will mean that the possibility of any future ministerial career is blighted for ever for me, I do not know. I was a Minister in the previous Government and I think that most people on both sides of the House thought I did a reasonable job.
We have to talk about mental health issues in this place, including people in the House who have personal experience of it. As I have said, I thought long and hard last night about doing this and I did not come to a decision until I put my notes down just now. Whether it affects how people view me, I do not know; and frankly I do not care because if it helps other people who have depression or who have suffered from it in the past, then, good.
Politics is a rough old game, and I have no problem with that. Indeed, I am, perhaps, one of the roughest at times, but having to admit that you need help sometimes is not a sign of weakness.”
Will Corbyn stand by his new defence strategist?
UPDATE: Corbyn demands Ken apologises:
“Jeremy is incredibly concerned that people with mental health problems shouldn’t be stigmatised. He has worked with Kevan in the past on this issue and is impressed by his bravery in speaking out on his own mental health issues. Ken should apologise to him straight away.”
UPDATE II: Labour’s Shadow Mental Health spokesman says Ken’s comments should be treated “as seriously as racism“:
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) November 18, 2015
UPDATE III: Remarkably Ken has just refused to apologise FOUR times when asked on LBC.
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UPDATE IV: George Galloway comes to Ken’s aid: “the witch-hunt turns on Ken Livingstone. Tooth by tooth claw by claw they are trying to defang JC. I defend Ken.”
UPDATE V: Kevan Jones speaks, and calls Ken “disgraceful”: