Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Ken Livingstone insists that the Labour Party has no Anti-Semitism problem
27 June 2020, 09:39 | Updated: 27 June 2020, 09:43
The former Mayor of London maintained that the Labour Party is the party of the "most prominent" Jewish politicians in the UK and is not systematically Anti-Semitic.
The former Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey was fired for apparent Anti-Semitism on social media. The former leadership candidate shared an "anti-semitic conspiracy theory" on her personal Twitter account which led to Sir Keir Starmer sacking her.
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone joined Andrew Castle to not only defend Ms Long-Bailey, but to argue that there isn't an underlying issue of anti semitism in the Labour Party. "She read that, didn't realise it wasn't true, made a mistake, but that isn't to say she's Anti-Semitic"
"Making a mistake about politics or getting a sentence wrong doesn't mean you're Anti-Semitic" said Mr Livingstone.
Andrew reminded the former Mayor that when Sir Keir Starmer took over the leadership of Labour he vowed to tear out Anti-Semitism "by its roots." "He wouldn't have said that unless there was a problem, would he?"
"Are you telling me there isn't a problem of Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party" Andrew asked, where Mr Livingstone told him outright "there isn't."
"In my 50 years in the party, I heard one racist comment" said Mr Livingstone, backing up the idea that there is not Anti-Semitism in the party.
"If you're a racist, you're not going to join the Labour Party, certainly if you're Anti-Semitic. Why join the Labour Party which has some of the most prominent Jewish politicians in decades?"
Andrew pointed out to the former London Mayor that the Equality and Human Rights Commission is due to release its report into Labour Party anti-semitism soon.
"My suspension was the big mega launch of all this stuff into the media" said Mr Livingstone.
"If they're really serious about finding out if there's a problem of Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, why haven't they called me in to question me for what I said" he wondered.
Mr Livingstone went on when to assure listeners that "although I don't agree with the way Keir's handled this, I have total confidence in his leadership. He comes across as someone who could be an incredibly impressive Prime Minister."