“After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party.
The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour Party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time – which is to replace a Tory government overseeing falling living standards and spiralling poverty, while starving our schools and the NHS of the vital resources they need.
We live in dangerous times and there are many issues I wish to speak up on and contribute my experience from running London to, from the need for real action to tackle climate change, to opposing Trump’s war-mongering, to the need to end austerity and invest in our future here in Britain.
“I do not accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor that I am in any way guilty of anti-Semitism. I abhor antisemitism, I have fought it all my life and will continue to do so.
“I also recognise that the way I made a historical argument has caused offence and upset in the Jewish community. I am truly sorry for that.
“Under Labour’s new General Secretary I am sure there will be rapid action to expel anyone who genuinely has antisemitic views.
“I am loyal to the Labour party and to Jeremy Corbyn. However any further disciplinary action against me may drag on for months or even years, distracting attention from Jeremy’s policies.
“I am therefore, with great sadness, leaving the Labour Party.
“We desperately need an end to Tory rule, and a Corbyn-led government to transform Britain and end austerity. I will continue to work to this end, and I thank all those who share this aim and who have supported me in my own political career.”
“Ken Livingstone’s resignation is sad after such a long and vital contribution to London and progressive politics, but was the right thing to do.”
Sad? Did he want him to stay?
UPDATE: Tory vice chairman James Cleverly:
“I’m relieved that Ken Livingstone has resigned from the Labour Party but why had it taken so long and why didn’t Corbyn deal with this months ago?
“Livingstone’s repeatedly offensive comments should have been dealt with ages ago.
If Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party were serious about tackling anti-Semitic racism within the party they would have kicked out Livingstone two years ago.
All Jeremy Corbyn could muster was that it was sad that Ken had chosen to go.
“When will Corbyn take proper action and ensure labour members and activists who express racist views are given the boot. Enough is enough.”