Funnily enough, after Ken Livingstone told the Daily Politics that the defence review that he is co-chairing with the new Labour Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry would consider whether Britain will leave Nato, the party has issued a statement shooting down the former Mayor’s suggestion:
'The terms of the defence review are still to be agreed but will not look at our membership of Nato.’
Livingstone said the following to the BBC:
'That’s one of the things we will look at. There will be many people wanting to do that. I don’t think it’s a particularly big issue because in the Cold War it was; it isn’t now. Russia is not planning to invade the West.’
Whether or not the defence review will actually end up examining the issue, Livingstone’s comments have made Labour’s bad reshuffle week just a little bit worse. It’s almost as if he wants to make it as easy as possible for the Tories to claim that Labour is a threat to national security. It also - and it shows how bad things are for the party that this is a lesser issue - suggests that Livingstone doesn’t have a brilliant grip on the detail of his brief as co-convenor of the defence review. Maria Eagle must be poring over her new ‘dream’ Culture brief and thanking her lucky stars that she’s not having to respond to this one.
Listen to Ken Livingstone on the Daily Politics here: