Ken Livingstone has been suspended by Labour after wading in to defend Naz Shah in the anti-Semitism row. Labour officials finally stepped in following comments made by Ken on the BBC earlier today in which he declared that saying the ‘Jews are rallying’ was not an anti-Semitic remark. A spokesman for Labour said:
‘Ken Livingstone has been suspended by the Labour party, pending an investigation, for bringing the party into disrepute.’
Instead of keeping a low profile following his blundering appearance on the Vanessa Feltz show, Ken spent the morning touring the studios, acting in the words of Labour MP Wes Streeting ‘like a political arsonist’. It’s hard to disagree with this estimation of the extraordinary comments Ken not only made but parroted time and again, on both Daily Politics and the World at One.
The suspension means that Labour has at least acted in some capacity. But the delay in doing so has done them no favours. Labour’s cunctation also seems to speak volumes about not only how the party viewed Livingstone’s remarks in the first place but also Corbyn’s own leadership ability. What’s more, John Mann being summoned by the party’s chief whip to ‘discuss his conduct’ after fronting up Ken on TV is also likely to anger many Labour MPs already smarting at the way this extraordinary row has played out.