Ken Livingstone suspended from Labour indefinitely and will face full anti-Semitism probe
Ken Livingstone has been suspended indefinitely from the Labour party and will face a full probe into his alleged anti-Semitism, it has emerged.
Outgoing general secretary Iain McNicol issued the former London mayor with a rarely used “administrative suspension” in one of his last acts in the job, HuffPost revealed.
Ex-MP Mr Livingstone was initially suspended in 2016 after he said Hitler was a Zionist “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.
In April last year, Labour's National Constitutional Committee continued his suspension for another 12 months, despite finding him guilty of three counts of bringing the party into disrepute.
At the time, Mr Livingstone said: "I do think it's important that the Labour party should not expel or suspend people for telling the truth."
PoliticsHome revealed two days later that Iain McNicol had written to members of the party's national executive committee to tell them a fresh investigation had been launched.
In the following 10 months no formal investigation has taken place, with the latest suspension due to expire in April.
The decision by Mr McNicol means the veteran left-winger will not be automatically reinstated as a member until the official Labour disputes panel acquits him or refers the case to the National Constitutional Committee.
According to HuffPost, Mr McNicol - who was forced out of his job by allies of Mr Corbyn last week - wanted to make sure Mr Livingstone could not be reinstated without a full probe.
The only way to reject the decision would be for the ruling National Executive Committee or the disputes panel to hold an emergency meeting.
A Labour spokesperson said: “Ken Livingstone has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party, pending the outcome of an internal party investigation.
“That suspension starts on the date that his membership suspension applied by the National Constitutional Committee ends on 27 April 2018.”
Labour MP Wes Streeting, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on British Jews, said: “This decision is welcome, but long overdue.
“Almost a year has passed since Jeremy Corbyn announced that Mr Livingstone’s conduct would be subject to further investigation with seemingly little action by the NEC.
“It should not have required eleventh hour action by an outgoing General Secretary to indefinitely suspend him.
“It is time for decisive action from the NEC and the Party’s leadership: not just to expel Livingstone for his gratuitously offensive remarks about Hitler and Zionism and his subsequent lack of remorse, but against all anti-Semites and their apologists in the Labour party.”
Meanwhile the race to succeed Mr McNicol ramped up this afternoon as Momentum founder Jon Lansman announced he would challenge Unite’s Jennie Formby for the role.