Ken Livingstone claims Home Affairs Select Committee 'obsessed with Hitler' - as he mentions him 11 times
Ken Livingstone has accused the Home Affairs Select Committee of being “obsessed” with Adolf Hitler.
The former mayor appeared before the committee earlier this month as part of its inquiry into anti-Semitism
He was called to give evidence after being suspended by the Labour party after claiming in a radio interview that Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews”.
But today he hit back at the committee, saying it failed to “seriously question” him on the wider issue of anti-Semitism.
In a statement to the committee, he said: “The overwhelming majority of questions asked of me were about my views on the history of Germany in the 1930s, Hitler, the Nazis, Israel, Zionism and the Labour Party. Committee members seemed to be obsessed with these issues.
“I was also questioned about a number of past events involving myself, going back to the 1980s that bear no relation to the question of whether prejudice against the Jewish community has increased or the dangers facing Jewish people arising from terrorism.”
He added the questioning was “at the very least a missed opportunity”.
“None of the Committee members at the first session taking oral evidence probed me – or the other witnesses – on the dangers facing Jewish people arising from terrorism, despite this being a subject of the inquiry. It is also the area of this inquiry where I do have some significant experience, as I was Mayor during the most serious terrorist attack to have ever taken place in London.”
In the statement, Mr Livingstone mentioned Hitler eleven times.
He said: “I do regret raising the historical points about Nazi policy in the 1930s when the specific issue of Hitler was raised by (BBC presenter) Vanessa Feltz. I regret it because there was an hysterical response from opponents of the Labour Party and of its current leadership, which will not have aided Labour’s campaign for the 5 May elections.
“I am horrified by the way my remarks have been interpreted and twisted. I cannot think of a worse insult than to be called a racist or an anti-Semite. And I am sorry if what I said has caused Jewish people, or anyone else, offence. That was not my intention.”