« | »

London’s Mayor “Suspended” Over Nazi Crack

More chipping away at freedom of speech.

From the terrorist enablers at Reuters:

London Mayor Ken Livingstone is to be suspended for four weeks after a disciplinary tribunal found him guilty of bringing his office into disrepute by comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Livingstone suspended for "Nazi" jibe

Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:03 PM GMT9

By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) – Feisty London Mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended for a month on Friday for comparing a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard, a verdict the mayor said struck "at the heart of democracy".

A three-person panel which hears complaints against local authorities ruled in a case brought by a Jewish group that Livingstone, 60, had brought his office into disrepute.

It ordered him suspended for four weeks from March 1.

"Three members of a body that no one has ever elected should not be allowed to overturn the votes of millions of Londoners," Livingstone said in a statement.

"This decision strikes at the heart of democracy. Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters or for breaking the law."

He added he was discussing with lawyers whether to appeal.

The suspension came as a surprise: the mayor, one of the most colourful and popular politicians, could have faced up to a five year ban on holding public office, but media were expecting at most a public rebuke.

Livingstone’s deputy Nicky Gavron said she would run the city in his absence, and that services would not be interrupted.

"There’s a very well oiled machine," she told Sky News. "If there’s any incidents in London, people know what to do."


The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which brought the complaint, said the suspension was deserved.

"I think the message one would hope the mayor would take away from this is that he is not the sole arbiter of standards in public life, that an elected official can nevertheless go beyond what is acceptable," the group’s Jon Benjamin told BBC Radio.

Livingstone sparked the rumpus when reporter Oliver Finegold questioned him as he left a party for a gay politician last year.

When the reporter identified himself as working for the Evening Standard, a paper loathed by the mayor, Livingstone asked: "What did you do? Were you a German war criminal?"

Finegold said he was Jewish and found the remarks offensive. Livingstone replied that the reporter was "like a concentration camp guard — you are just doing it because you are paid to."

He later refused to apologise, noting that the Standard’s sister paper, the Daily Mail, had supported the Nazis in the 1930s. He also said he had been rude to reporters for decades, others hadn’t complained and he had no intention of changing.


The paper’s editor Veronica Wadley said it was now time Livingstone apologised.

"There is no question that he caused offence to many Londoners by his comments, and his stubborn refusal to say sorry aggravated the position," she said in a statement.

Brian Coleman, London assembly member from the opposition Conservative Party said Livingstone should resign. But the Green Party called the suspension an "hysterical over-reaction".

Livingstone, known as Red Ken in the 1980s as a left-wing maverick in local government, won election to the newly created post of mayor in 2000 after leaving the Labour Party and defeating Prime Minister Tony Blair’s candidate.

He later returned to the party, but has frequently clashed with Blair, leading marches against the war in Iraq.

He was widely praised last year for guiding London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympics and for his handling of suicide bomb attacks on the city’s transport network in which 52 commuters died.

But he has long had a prickly relationship with the Evening Standard, the capital’s biggest local paper, where he was once an occasional freelance restaurant critic.

Can you imagine the chaos if people decided to "suspend" our elected officials over perceived slights to reporters or some other protected group?

And whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me"?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 24th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “London’s Mayor “Suspended” Over Nazi Crack”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »