Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
1 April 2017, 17:06
Former London Mayor gave an exclusive interview to Andrew Pierce following a "marathon" Labour party disciplinary hearing.
Former Labour London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, faces expulsion from the party after he was suspended last April for alleged anti-Semitic remarks.
Mr Livingstone caused outrage among party members when he said in an interview with BBC Radio London that Hitler was “supporting Zionism” before he “went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.
On Friday (31) he finished a two day behind-closed-doors disciplinary hearing, with a verdict on his expulsion expected on Tuesday.
Following the "marathon" hearing, Mr Livingstone spoke to Friday evening LBC Presenter Andrew Pierce.
Mr Livingstone, a former LBC Presenter, said: "They all accept now that I never said that Hitler was a Zionist. I simply said Hitler did a deal with this German Zionist movement back in 1933.
"I was being grilled by this barrister, who kept saying 'but when you said Hitler supported Zionism, what does that actually mean? Does that mean that he supported the Jewish sects?'.
"Well I've never seen any suggestion that he supported the Jewish state, he just wanted to remove Germany from the Jews out of Germany and send them to Palestine.
"We went round and round the meaning of words."
He went on: "Amazing stuff has come out of all this. They produced a huge tome of tweets and texts and everything."
Ken said that 39 Labour MPs on the morning of the controversy, demanded he be immediately suspended.
He added that lots of people misconstrued his comments, believing he said that Hitler was a Zionist.
Mr Livingstone went on: "If I had said Hitler was a Zionist, I wouldn't have just apologised, I'd get the doctor to check it wasn't the first stage of dementia.
"How anyone can suggest Hitler was a Zionist when he loathed and feared Jews all his life, is bonkers."
Ken revealed that the committee carrying out the hearing was made up of 12 people, and they sent three to hear each case."
He added that he thinks the press and public should be allowed in enquiries and hearings. The former Mayor went on: "We believe that the press and the public should be free to come in and see this. This isn't North Korea - it's democracy. But they absolutely refuse."
Mr Livingstone went on to describe the set up of the hearing and added: "What I find interesting is...in the eight years I was Mayor, anti-Semitic incidents in London were cut by half.
"And then under Boris Johnson, they doubled. No one looks at why that is, what's the cause of it. All they want to talk about is 'did I say Hitler was a Zionist?'."