Shami Won’t Rule Out A Place for Ken Livingstone in Labour

Following reports that Labour are on the cusp of lifting Ken Livingstone’s suspension, Shami Chakrabarti refused to rule out his re-admittance to full membership but said he should face further investigation before any decision is made. Asked if there was a place in Labour for Livingstone, Chakrabarti didn’t rule out his return saying:

“Well, obviously I’m not judge and jury… he has been suspended for some time but equally people report he has said things and done things since that suspension and that is something the NEC is going to have to look at.”

Subsequent comments since Livingstone’s suspension include those he made on Iran’s Press TV on Holocaust Memorial Day, on a programme discussing: “Has the Holocaust been exploited to oppress others?” 

There was confusion at the top of the Labour Party yesterday as officials realised Ken’s suspension was due to expire in April. In a storm of controversy and amid a revolt by PLP moderates, the party hurriedly announced a new probe (to which Shami is referring), based on an old promise first made by Jeremy Corbyn ten months ago. Until now, that probe appeared to have been quietly dropped, with no action taken against Ken. Meanwhile, Corbyn claims to be serious about tackling anti-Semitism…




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Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn in the Evening Standard

“… we must also face the uncomfortable fact that a small number of our members and supporters hold anti-Semitic views and attitudes, which need to be confronted and dealt with more rapidly and effectively.

The evidence is clear enough. Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.

So let me be clear. People holding those views have no place in the Labour Party.

… we have not done enough to get to grips with the problem, and the Jewish community and our Jewish members deserve an apology. My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused. … We must strive to understand why anti-Semitism has surfaced in our party…

… when criticism of or opposition to the Israeli government uses anti-Semitic ideas — attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or comparing Israel to the Nazis — then a line must be drawn.  Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitic and many Jews themselves are not Zionists. But there are also a very few who are drawn to the Palestinian question precisely because it affords an opportunity to express hostility to Jewish people in a “respectable” setting. Our movement must not be a home for such individuals.

Second, there are people who have come to see capitalism and imperialism as the product of conspiracy by a small shadowy elite rather than a political, economic, legal and social system. That is only a step from hoary myths about “Jewish bankers” and “sinister global forces”.

These views do no service to the struggle for a just society.”

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