100 Labour MPs criticise Livingstone sanctions as former mayor claims he would win expulsion battle in court

More than 100 Labour MPs and dozens of peers have signed an open letter criticising the party for failing to expel Ken Livingstone over his comments about Hitler and Zionism.

The group, which includes shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and recent former shadow cabinet ministers such as Lisa Nandy and Heidi Alexander, put their names to a statement accusing the “institutions” of the Labour Party of “betraying” their values.

Several prominent backbenchers, such as Liz Kendall and Dan Jarvis, also backed the letter, which was published by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

It came as Jeremy Corbyn confirmed the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) would open a new inquiry into Livingstone’s comments during the disciplinary process, when the former London mayor argued he was justified by historical fact.

This afternoon Livingstone mounted a defence of his comments when he claimed he would win any court battle and accused Labour MPs of telling “lies”.

It was the latest twist on a day which was dominated by reaction to the decision of the little-known national constitutional committee (NCC) to prolong Livingstone’s suspension for one year, rather than to kick him out of the party, as many had expected.

As well as being supported by MPs the letter was signed by more than 50 peers including former cabinet minister Tessa Jowell and former elections chief Spencer Livermore.

“This week the institutions of the Labour Party have betrayed our values. We stand united in making it clear that we will not allow our party to be a home for antisemitism and Holocaust revisionism,” it read.

“We stand with the Jewish community and British society against this insidious racism. This was not done in our name and we will not allow it to go unchecked.”

A spokesman for the party declined to comment.

Today Corbyn condemned Livingstone’s “grossly insensitive” comments and also criticised him for continuing to make his claims during the disciplinary process.

“Ken Livingstone’s comments have been grossly insensitive, and he has caused deep offence and hurt to the Jewish community,” Corbyn said in a statement.

“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.”

Livingstone himself alleged he had not been expelled from the party because officials believed they would not have a “cat in hell’s chance” if he took them to court.

“A British judge is not going to say it’s wrong to state a historical truth,” he told the BBC.

“If anyone has been offended I apologise on behalf of those Labour MPs that lied in their tweets and [in] their posts on their websites,” he added.

The former MP also attacked the “right-wing Labour Party machine” which he claimed had delayed the date of disciplinary hearing to undermine Corbyn’s launch of the local elections campaign yesterday.

The full list of signatories is as follows:

Labour MPs

Alexander Heidi
Ali Rushanara
Austin Ian
Bailey Adrian
Barron Sir Kevin
Berger Luciana
Blomfield Paul
Brabin Tracy
Bradshaw Ben
Buck Karen
Bryant Chris
Byrne Liam
Cadbury Ruth
Coaker Vernon
Coffey Ann
Cooper Yvette
Coyle Neil
Creagh Mary
Creasy Stella
Cruddas Jon
David Wayne
DePiero Gloria
Debbonaire Thangam
Doughty Stephen
Dowd Peter
Dromey Jack
Dugher Michael
Eagle Angela
Eagle Maria
Elliott Julie
Ellman Louise
Elmore Chris
Evans Chris
Field Frank
Flint Caroline
Foxcroft Vicky
Furniss Gill
Gapes Mike
Gardiner Barry
Glindon Mary
Goodman Helen
Green Kate
Greenwood Lilian
Griffith Nia
Gywnne Andrew
Haigh Louise
Hanson David
Harris Carolyn
Hodge Dame Margaret
Hodgson Sharon
Huq Rupa
Jarvis Dan
Jones Graham
Jones Helen
Jones Susan Elan
Keeley Barbara
Kendall Liz
Kinnock Stephen
Kyle Peter
Lammy David
Leslie Chris
Lewell-Buck Emma
Lewis Ivan
Lucas IanC.
Lynch Holly
McCabe Steve
McDonagh Siobhain
McFadden Pat
McGinn Conor
McGovern Alison
McKinnell Catherine
Mactaggart Fiona
Madders Justin
Malhotra Seema
Mann John
Marris Rob
Matheson Christian
Moon Madeleine
Murray Ian
Nandy Lisa
Pennycook Matthew
Perkins Toby
Phillips Jess
Phillipson Bridget
Powell Lucy
Rayner Angela
Reynolds Emma
Reynolds Jonathan
Ryan Joan
Sharma Virendra
Shuker Gavin
Siddiq Tulip
Smeeth Ruth
Smith Angela
Smith Jeff
Smith Owen
Snell Gareth
Streeting Wes
Thomas Gareth
Timms Stephen
Turley Anna
Twigg Stephen
Umunna Chuka
Wilson Phil
Woodcock John
Wright Iain

 

Labour Peers

Bns (Irene) Adams of Craigielea
Rt Hon Bns (Hilary) Armstrong of Hill Top
L (Willy) Bach
Rt Hon L (Steve) Bassam
L (Jeremy) Beecham
L (Clive) Brooke of Alverthorpe
L (Michael) Cashman
L (Ray) Collins of Highbury
Bns (Christine) Crawley
Rt Hon Bns (Brenda) Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde
L (Bernard) Donoughue
L (Alf) Dubs
Rt Hon L (Charlie) Falconer of Thoroton QC
Rt Hon L (George) Foulkes of Cumnock
Bns (Mary) Goudie
L (Toby) Harris of Haringey
Bns (Anna) Healy of Primrose Hill
Rt Hon Bns (Beverley) Hughes of Stretford
L (Julian) Hunt of Chesterton
Rt Hon L (Philip) Hunt of Kings Heath
Bns (Maggie) Jones of Whitchurch
Rt Hon B (Tessa) Jowell
L (Roy) Kennedy of Southwark
Bns (Denise) Kingsmill
Rt Hon L (Jim) Knight of Weymouth
Bns (Doreen) Lawrence of Clarendon
L (Chris) Lennie
L (Roger) Liddle
Bns (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett
L (Spencer) Livermore
L (Hector) MacKenzie of Culkein
L (Bill) McKenzie of Luton
L (Jon) Mendelsohn
Bns (Sally) Morgan of Huyton
Rt Hon L (Paul) Murphy of Torfaen
L (Martin) O’Neill of Clackmannan
Rt Hon Bns (Joyce) Quin
Bns (Meta) Ramsay of Cartvale
Rt Hon L (Jeff) Rooker
Rt Hon Bns (Jan) Royall of Blaisdon
Rt Hon Bns (Angela) Smith of Basildon
Bns (Glenys) Thornton
L (Don) Touhig
L (Dave) Watts
Bns (Margaret) Wheeler
Rt Hon L (Michael) Wills
L (Ken) Woolmer of Leeds

 

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