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"Boot him out!" – furious Ian Austin demands Jeremy Corbyn gets rid of Red Ken over anti-Semitism

By Peter Madeley | Politics | Published:

Furious Ian Austin has demanded Jeremy Corbyn 'boot out' Ken Livingstone from the Labour party.

Speaking during a Commons debate on anti-Semitism, the Dudley North MP said it was 'a disgrace' that the former London Mayor – who was suspended almost two years ago after claiming Hitler was a Zionist – had not yet been permanently expelled from Labour.

In an emotionally charged address that drew applause from both sides of the House, Mr Austin urged shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne to make the case for expulsion to Mr Corbyn.

He said: "Let's be really clear about it. Ken Livingstone comparing, claiming, that Hitler was a Zionist – this is anti-Semitism pure and simple.

"It happened more than two years ago, there has been ample time to deal with it.

"It's a disgrace that it hasn't been dealt with. Kick him out immediately."

He added: "It should have been enough when the Community Security Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Jewish Labour Movement, the Jewish Leadership Council all said it was enough.

“We have even had the Chief Rabbi speaking out, and still nothing has happened.

"He [Mr Gwynne] should stand at that despatch box and he should tell the leader of the Labour party that Livingstone must be booted out. Boot him out."

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Speaking for the Labour front bench, Mr Gwynne said Mr Austin made his views 'very clearly' and said he did not share Mr Livingstone's views.

"I think that they are abhorrent and the Labour party will go through the processes that are well applied to each and every member of the Labour party."

Mr Gwynne said Mr Livingstone's case was subject to 'due process' but agreed the investigation should be sped up.

Mr Livingstone’s suspension was made 'indefinite' last month by Labour general secretary Iain McNicol, who has since been replaced.

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Mr Corbyn attended the start of the debate and heard Mr Austin's comments. However he left before hearing many of his own MPs participate, but returned later.

In the debate Labour MP Luciana Berger said she had been subjected to anti-Semitic abuse since becoming involved in Labour politics nearly two decades ago.

She backed Mr Austin’s call and also received lengthy applause in the House after she told MPs 'enough is enough'.

Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, listed a series of incidents of anti-Semitic abuse she had received, much of it she said, from people claiming to be supporters of Mr Corbyn.

Reading some of the abuse she had received to the Commons, she said: "My 'fan base' has shown scant regard for appropriate parliamentary language so I apologise in advance.

"'Hang yourself you vile treacherous Zionist Tory filth, you're a cancer of humanity', 'Ruth Smeeth is a Zionist she has no shame and trades on the murder Jews by Hitler who the Zionists betrayed', 'Ruth Smeeth must surely be travelling first class to Tel Aviv with all that slush, after all she's complicit in trying to bring Corbyn down'.

She also referenced last month's Parliament Square protest organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, saying it was 'truly heartbreaking' that there was a need to protest against the anti-Semitism that was 'engulfing' parts of her party.

Mr Corbyn paid tribute to the 'bravery' of MPs who spoke in the debate and said there is 'no excuse for abuse of any kind'.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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