Ken Livingstone suspended over Hitler comments

The former mayor of London has received backlash from his Labour party colleagues in the UK

Ken Livingstone suspended over Hitler comments

Ken Livingstone | Image: Anthony Devlin / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone has been suspended by Labour in the UK for "bringing the party into disrepute" following comments he made saying that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism.

Livingstone made his remarks in defence of suspended UK Labour MP Naz Shah, over comments she posted on social media suggesting Israel should be relocated to the US and claiming everything Hitler did was legal.

He said Ms Shah's Facebook posts were not "anti-Semitic" and he claimed there was a "well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticised Israeli policy as anti-Semitic".

The UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came under increasing pressure to take action against his close ally with more than 20 Labour MPs calling for Livingstone to go.

In furious scenes, Labour MP John Mann confronted Mr Livingstone in Westminster this morning branding him a "Nazi apologist". The party's chief whip Rosie Winterton later told Mr Mann it was "completely inappropriate" to be involved in public rows on television after his confrontation.

The decision to haul him in for a dressing down had sparked anger from Labour MPs who said Mr Mann had been "standing up for decency".

Mr Mann responded saying it was clear Labour did have a problem with anti-Semitism and that Mr Livingstone, who is co-chairman of Labour's defence policy commission, was part of it.

In his interview with the BBC this morning, Mr Livingstone said: "Let's remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism. This is before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews".

He said that in all his time as a Labour member he had never heard anyone say anything anti-Semitic and suggested the "Israel lobby" had orchestrated a campaign to smear people.

In 2005 Mr Livingstone was also embroiled in an anti-Semitism row after asking Jewish reporter Oliver Finegold if he was a "German war criminal" and telling him: "You are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren't you?"

Ms Shah apologised for her anti-Semitic comments in the House of Commons on Wednesday and was suspended after David Cameron said it was "extraordinary" that action had not been taken against her.

The party will now carry out an investigation into the former London mayor's conduct.