OUTRAGE AT RACIST OUTBURST BY MAYORHow Can He Make Light of the Holocaust? 'Ken Must Say Sorry over War Criminal slur'Emergency Motion over Mayor's Outburst

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 11, 2005 | Go to article overview

OUTRAGE AT RACIST OUTBURST BY MAYORHow Can He Make Light of the Holocaust? 'Ken Must Say Sorry over War Criminal slur'Emergency Motion over Mayor's Outburst


Byline: MATHEUS SANCHEZ;ROSS LYDALL;MIRA BAR-HILLEL

KEN Livingstone is under growing pressure today to apologise after comparing an Evening Standard reporter who is Jewish to a "German war criminal".

The London Assembly announced the Mayor will face an emergency motion on Monday demanding he withdraw his remarks.

It came as both the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a leading Tory assembly member said they were set to refer Mr Livingstone to the official local government watchdog, the Standards Board for England. This has the power to suspend him for a year or ban him from public office for up to five years if he is found to have brought the office of Mayor into disrepute.

Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies, said: "I would ask that the standards board considers this latest outburst."

Brian Coleman, the Conservative chairman of the London Assembly, said a motion on the Mayor's conduct would be considered at its annual tax-setting meeting on Monday morning. He said: "All reasonable people think the Mayor has gone too far. He needs to apologise to the many people he has offended and withdraw his remarks."

The Mayor's attack on Standard reporter Oliver Finegold happened outside a party at City Hall to celebrate the decision by former culture secretary Chris Smith 20 years ago to come out as being gay.

The party was covered by the Standard as part of our normal reporting of London life. We received no complaints from guests about our presence. Only three days previously Mr Smith had been a guest of honour at the Evening Standard film awards.

Mr Smith himself spoke to the paper as he left City Hall, and agreed to be pictured with partner Dorian Jabri because he "liked the Evening Standard".

When Mr Livingstone was asked by Finegold whether he had enjoyed the party, the Mayor likened him to a "German war criminal".

After Finegold told him he was Jewish and found that remark to be offensive, Mr Livingstone said: "Well you might be, but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard - you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren't you?" Mr Livingstone has refused to withdraw his remarks.

His spokesman accused our reporter of harassing gay and lesbian guests and swearing at the Mayor. A taped recording of the conversation on Tuesday night shows neither claim is true. Today Mr Livingstone faced a chorus of outrage over his remarks, which many believe belittle the suffering of the victims of Nazism and undermine the position of London Mayor. …

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OUTRAGE AT RACIST OUTBURST BY MAYORHow Can He Make Light of the Holocaust? 'Ken Must Say Sorry over War Criminal slur'Emergency Motion over Mayor's Outburst
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