Ken Livingstone: I was too left-wing for the KGB

Ken Livingstone: I was too left-wing for the KGB
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The row about Jeremy Corbyn and a Czech spy shows no sign of dying down. Following a former Czech spy's claim that Corbyn was paid by the Eastern bloc to spy on Britain in the 1980s, the Labour leader has denied the claim and instructed solicitors to respond to 'any false and ridiculous smears' appearing online. Meanwhile, Tory MPs are calling on Corbyn to give permission for the publication of the Czech intelligence file on him.

While that looks unlikely, one man who is happy to talk about his Communist dealings in the eighties is Ken Livingstone. Red Ken tells the Daily Mail that he met a KGB spy posing as a journalist for a number of interviews in the 1980s. This man even organised for him to go on a ten-day trip to Russia.

However, there was a problem: Livingstone was just too left-wing for them:

'It was very interesting, [but] it was endless bloody meetings. I think they were just collecting data about what we were all like, and they would have feared we were too left-wing.'

Livingstone reckons any Soviet intelligence officers speaking to figures such as himself or Corbyn were 'just sounding out what we might be like if we ended up in a major position'.

Mr S doubts Corbyn will thank his comrade for this intervention.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to