NAZI ROW KEN: I'M LIKE ARCHER AND PROFUMO; 'Outburst Did Not Shame My Office'

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

NAZI ROW KEN: I'M LIKE ARCHER AND PROFUMO; 'Outburst Did Not Shame My Office'


Byline: ROSS LYDALL

KEN LIVINGSTONE today compared his situation in the "Nazi jibe" row to scandals involving John Profumo and Jeffrey Archer.

His lawyer, Tony Child, said these notorious cases had involved individuals acting in a personal capacity who had brought shame on themselves but not their official offices.

He said Mr Livingstone's position was the same - his attack on a Jewish journalist from the Evening Standard had been made as a private citizen and therefore he could not have brought the office of mayor into disrepute.

Mr Child's comments came as the adjudication panel hearing into the case against the Mayor resumed for its third day.

The case was brought by the Standards Board for England after the Board of Deputies of British Jews complained about Mr Livingstone's comparison of reporter Oliver Finegold to a "German war criminal" and a "concentration camp guard" as he left a City Hall party in February last year.

With the Mayor sitting beside him, Mr Child referred to the 1960s scandal when minister for war Profumo lied to the Commons about his affair with prostitute Christine Keeler, and the subsequent disgrace of David Blunkett when home secretary and of Jeffrey Archer as deputy chairman of the Conservative party.

Mr Blunkett quit in a row over the fast-tracking of a visa for a nanny, while Lord Archer was found guilty of perjury after lying to a libel jury.

Mr Child said all the men had left the reputation of their offices intact.

He said: "Why would the informed observer regard any peccadillo by David Blunkett as affecting the reputation of the Government?"

But adjudication panel member Daryl Stephenson asked Mr Child why all three men had thought fit to resign - forcing the lawyer to admit that they had done so because they "might damage" their offices.

Earlier, Mr Child had said there was "no connection" between Mr Livingstone's comments - made as he left a party he had hosted for former MP Chris Smith - and the office of mayor.

He said there was "not a scintilla of racism" in his remarks to Mr Finegold. …

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