Labour MPs and senior figures in Jewish community incensed at decision to let former London mayor stay in party.
Jeremy Corbyn is facing demands to force Ken Livingstone out of Labour for his comments linking Adolf Hitler and Zionism, as 100 of his own MPs criticised the party’s response to a growing antisemitism crisis.
The Labour leader came under pressure to take more action after an unprecedented outcry from MPs and senior figures in the Jewish community about the decision to let Livingstone stay in the party.
A disciplinary panel of three officials found Livingstone guilty on Tuesday night of bringing the party into disrepute for suggesting that Hitler supported Zionism and defending Labour MP Naz Shah’s antisemitic Facebook post, for which she has apologised. He was suspended for a further year, but senior Labour figures, from deputy leader Tom Watson to former leader Ed Miliband and London mayor Sadiq Khan, said he should have been expelled from the party.
Corbyn issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon criticising Livingstone, his old ally and supporter, for causing deep offence to the Jewish community, and asked the party’s ruling body to examine some of Livingstone’s more recent comments, such as the claim that there was “real collaboration” between Hitler and some German Jews in the 1930s.
“Ken Livingstone’s comments have been grossly insensitive, and he has caused deep offence and hurt to the Jewish community,” Corbyn said. “It is deeply disappointing that, despite his long record of standing up to racism, Ken has failed to acknowledge or apologise for the hurt he has caused. Many people are understandably upset that he has continued to make offensive remarks which could open him to further disciplinary action.”