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Tensions rise as anti-Semitism row escalates

Tensions rose today as a row over anti-Semitism in the Labour party escalated following comments made by party member Ken Livingstone.

Labour faced calls to suspend Livingstone, which they subsequently did, after he said Adolf Hitler was "supporting Zionism" when he rose to power in the 1930s during an interview to defend fellow suspended MP Naz Shah.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.

Holocaust Trust: Anti-Semitism a 'real poison' in British politics

'it is clear that anti-Semitism continues to be a very real poison in our society and sadly in British politics', says Holocaust Educational Trust Credit: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA

Anti-Semitism is a "very real poison" in our society and in British politics, according to the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Karen Pollock, the trust's chief executive, said: "If anyone was in doubt before, it is clear that anti-Semitism continues to be a very real poison in our society and sadly in British politics.

"Those who invoke the Holocaust to score political points should be loudly and roundly condemned - this is not the first time that Ken Livingstone has chucked the Holocaust around like political confetti and it will probably not be the last. But to be clear, the deliberate misuse of the history of the Holocaust is anti-Semitism - pure and simple."


Boris: Labour party infected by 'virus of anti-Semitism'

Boris Johnson has waded into the Livingstone debate Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Boris Johnson has claimed the Labour Party has become infected by a "virus of anti-Semitism" after party member Ken Livingstone was suspended following his comments that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of Zionism.

The London mayor told LBC radio: "There is plainly some sort of virus of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party that needs to be addressed.

"There is an ideological continuum between Ken Livingstone about Israel and the position of Jeremy Corbyn."

Livingstone removes Israeli flag from front door

Ken Livingstone has been captured on video, coming out of his house to remove an Israeli flag that was tied to his front door.

Dressed in an 'old Labour' t-shirt and braces, the suspended MP, was heard saying "what's this?" as he came out to check if there was someone at his door and instead found a flag attached to the knocker.

Jewish groups call for Livingstone's immediate expulsion

Calls have been made for Ken Livingstone's immediate expulsion from the Labour party Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

A number of Jewish groups have called for Ken Livingstone's immediate expulsion from the Labour party amid an anti-Semitism row fuelled by his comments that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of Zionism.

Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism branded Livingstone "a hardened politician who has spent his political career accommodating anti-Semitic extremists and making anti-Semitic gaffes" and said he must go.

He said: "Jeremy Corbyn should understand that zero tolerance for racism is all or nothing, and it is time for Ken Livingstone to be banished or for Corbyn to stop pretending to oppose racism."

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, added: "Ken Livingstone's comments were abhorrent and beyond disgraceful. He denies anti-Semitism in Labour when the evidence is there for all to see.

"He lacks any sense of reality and decency. He must now be expelled from the Labour Party."

Corbyn: 'Grave concerns' about language Livingstone used

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that there are "grave concerns" over the language Ken Livingstone used when defending MP Naz Shah after her suspension for alleged anti-Semitic social media posts.

Livingstone said Adolf Hitler was "supporting Zionism" when he rose to power in the 1930s whilst publicly defending Shah in a radio interview.

Speaking after Livingstone was himself suspended today, Corbyn said: "There were very grave concerns about the language he used in an interview this morning. We had a discussion about it and decided we would suspend him and he would go through an investigation by the party."


Mann told Livingstone row 'completely inappropriate'

Mann angrily confronted Livingstone in Westminster Credit: Pool

Labour MP John Mann has been told it is "completely inappropriate" to be involved in public rows on television after his bust up with Ken Livingstone earlier today.

It comes after Mann angrily confronted Livingstone in Westminster, calling him a "disgusting racist" and a "Nazi apologist" over comments he made on anti-Semitism.

Labour must 'act decisively' to combat anti-Semitism

Ken Livingstone was suspended by the Labour Party on Thursday. Credit: PA

Labour must now "act decisively" to combat the "terrible issue" of anti-Semitism, the director of external affairs for the Jewish Leadership Council has said after Ken Livingstone's suspension.

Bernard Hughes said: "We do not believe the Labour Party is institutionally racist or anti-Semitic but sadly there are individuals within the party whose views and statements are anti-Semitic and have really shocked us."

He added: "We have supported the request by the Jewish Labour Movement to have Ken Livingstone suspended from Labour for the offensive remarks he made this morning."

Cameron: Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism

David Cameron said anti-Semitism is unacceptable in a modern political party. Credit: PA

David Cameron has said Labour "has got a problem with anti-Semitism" after Ken Livingstone was suspended for "bringing the party into disrepute".

The prime minister said: "It is quite clear that the Labour Party has got a problem with anti-Semitism.

"I think they have got to recognise that anti-Semitism is like racism, it is unacceptable in a modern political party and every political party facing this problem has got to deal with it.

"As I said to Jeremy Corbyn some weeks ago - when I was shouted down in the House of Commons with cries of 'disgraceful' from the Labour benches - they've got a problem, it is now totally apparent they've got a problem, and they have got to deal with it."

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