Former London mayor will give evidence to committee to back up comments linking Hitler with support for Zionism.
Ken Livingstone will appear before Labour’s most senior body on Thursday, which will rule on whether he will be expelled from the party for comments he made linking Adolf Hitler to support for Zionism.
The former mayor of London, who has been suspended from the party for 11 months, said he would present evidence to the national constitutional committee (NCC) to back up his claims in a series of TV and radio interviews that Hitler “was supporting Zionism” before he “went mad”.
In a statement before the hearing, Livingstone said he had not broken any Labour party rule and said he would blame expulsion on the political balance of the committee rather than his own conduct. His case will be presented by Michael Mansfield QC.
“I am being attacked by the right wing of the Labour party because I support Palestinian human rights and strongly back our leader, Jeremy Corbyn,” he said. “There is no real evidence against me, so hopefully the Labour panel will dismiss the charge against me. Only a biased and rigged jury could find against me.”
Labour’s national executive committee has referred the case to the NCC, the only body that can expel members. The meeting will be conducted in a private hearing of the NCC panel, despite calls from Livingstone for it to be made public.
Mansfield, who has previously represented families of victims at the Bloody Sunday inquiry and advised Corbyn during the legal challenge to the party’s leadership election in summer 2016, will present Livingstone’s case. His solicitor is Imran Khan, who has represented the family of Stephen Lawrence.
In a letter setting out the case against Livingstone, Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, said the former mayor must answer the charge that his conduct was “grossly detrimental” to the party, also citing his defence of Facebook posts by Bradford West MP Naz Shah.
Shah apologised for the posts which she admitted were antisemitic, suggesting transporting Jews from Israel to the United States. However, McNicol said, Livingstone then went on air to defend her and claimed the posts were not antisemitic.