Ken Livingstone’s suspension from the Labour Party will be extended pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
The extension will allow further complaints of antisemitism against Livingstone, made since his original suspension in April 2016, to be fully investigated.
He will remain suspended for as long as the investigation takes place. Once the investigation process reaches a conclusion, disciplinary action may or may not be taken.
A party spokesperson said: “Ken Livingstone has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party pending the outcome of an internal party investigation. That suspension starts on the date his membership suspension applied by the national constitutional committee ends on 27 April 2018.”
Reports that outgoing general secretary Iain McNicol personally authorised an indefinite suspension have been denied by the party, which says ‘administrative suspensions’ are used regularly as part of due process.
There is no set timescale for the investigation, which once concluded will then be referred to the NEC’s disputes panel. NEC officers will decide whether to refer the matter to the national constitutional committee (NCC).
Livingstone was suspended from the party in April 2016 following complaints over his alleged antisemitism. At a hearing in April 2017, after an internal inquiry by the NCC, the former MP and mayor of London was found guilty of bringing the party into disrepute.
As a result, the NCC ordered his suspension to be extended. A number of MPs and activists expressed disappointment at the time that Livingstone was suspended again rather than expelled.
The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) wrote to NEC members yesterday warning: “If the Labour Party is serious about repairing its relationship with the Jewish community, there can be no future for Livingstone in the Labour Party”.
Signatories to the letter included JLM vice-chairs Mike Katz and Sarah Sackman, who stood as Labour candidates in Hendon in 2017 and Finchley & Golders Green in 2015 respectively.