The National Executive Committee (NEC) of Britain’s Labour party is planning to launch a new inquiry into allegations of anti-Semitism against former London mayor Ken Livingstone, The Observer reported Saturday.
News of the new inquiry came after MPs reacted furiously to information from party insiders who said Livingstone was likely to be readmitted to the party within weeks.
Livingstone has been suspended since April 2016 when he claimed Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism.
On Saturday, Labour officials said that an NEC inquiry first announced ten months ago by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but never begun, would probably be opened next month – just weeks before the former London mayor’s two-year suspension is due to end on April 27.
The about-turn by Labour came after The Observer contacted party sources on Friday and was told in repeated exchanges that no further action was in the pipeline and that the former London mayor was likely be allowed back in as a full member. When this was reported on Guardian.co.uk there was a furious reaction from Labour MPs and members.
Five hours later, noted The Observer, the party changed its line and said it would be inaccurate to suggest either that no further investigation was planned or that Livingstone was on course to be readmitted. It said the NEC would probably begin looking at uninvestigated claims against him next month.
Livingstone’s initial suspension was extended for another year in April of 2017 after a full inquiry by the party’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC). He was also criticized for defending Labour MP Naz Shah over an anti-Semitic Facebook post for which she subsequently apologized.
But his unrepentant tone after the NCC hearing caused such anger that Corbyn announced at once that an NEC inquiry would take place. There has been no further action to date, noted The Observer.
Livingstone is one of dozens of Labour members who have been suspended and expelled from the Labour party due to anti-Semitism over the last few years.
A report released in October of 2016 determined that the Labour party’s leadership is failing to seriously confront the anti-Semitism among its ranks.