When this story broke (yesterday), one of the first thoughts This Writer had was to consider whether Kevan Jones had made his public criticism of Ken Livingstone’s appointment in the hope that Livingstone would say something untoward (as he did).

I rejected the thought in short order – that’s the sort of shifty Tory tactic that has no place in the Labour Party, after all.

However, it seems Mr Jones and other right-wingers are determined to play on Livingstone’s unfortunate remark for all they are worth, now that he has made it – and that’s another shifty Tory tactic that has no place in the Labour Party!

Especially since Kevan Jones had no business voicing any concerns about Ken Livingstone in public in the first place.

So, let’s get our priorities straight.

If Ken Livingstone is forced off this defence review, it will be because he made an out-of-line comment about Mr Jones – not because of any opinions he may hold that don’t correspond with those of the Labour right-wingers. Right?


People like David Blunkett will happily say they want Livingstone out because of that comment, but the real reason is to remove someone who supports the scrapping of Trident. That is very clear.

Kevan Jones deserves to be disciplined for speaking in public about Ken Livingstone when any doubts he had should have been voiced in private to his party leader. Why did he not do that? Because he wanted exactly the kind of publicity we have seen.

I think Kevan Jones is another snake-in-the-grass, and the only productive conclusion to come from this sorry story is that he has been rooted out.

Ken Livingstone should step down as co-convenor of Labour’s defence review after he suggested the shadow defence minister Kevan Jones “might need psychiatric help”, the former home secretary David Blunkett has said.

Livingstone tweeted an apology to Jones, who has spoken publicly about experiencing depression, but later reignited the row when he appeared to water down the apology.

Blunkett told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he was glad Livingstone had “unreservedly apologised to a longstanding colleague”. Asked whether he thought Livingstone should step down from the defence review, Blunkett replied: “Yes, I do.”

He said: “There comes a time – and I’ve come to that point – where you have to be really circumspect about your past, including your failures … One of the lessons I’ve learned is that if you’ve made mistakes, you don’t continue making them. Ken lost the mayorship of London twice. I think he should be circumspect about why.”

Source: David Blunkett calls for Ken Livingstone to quit Labour defence review post | Politics | The Guardian

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