London Mayor Ken Livingstone to appeal over suspension

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Monday, February 27, 2006

London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who on Friday was told that he would face a four-week suspension from office over remarks made to a newspaper journalist, has said today that he will seek a judicial appeal.

The ban was issued to Ken Livingstone by the Adjudication Panel for England for 'bringing his office into disrepute' by comparing an Evening Standard journalist to a 'concentration camp guard' when doorstepped by the journalist as he was leaving a private party in Febaruary 2005.

Ken Livinstone refused to apologise to the journalist over the incident, saying "I have nothing to apologise for". Responding to claims that his comments were anti-semitic, Ken Livingstone said of the Daily Mail group, who own the Evening Standard, "no one in Britain is less qualified to complain about anti-Semitism....in truth, those papers were the leading advocates of anti-Semitism in Britain for half a century".

The four week suspension is due to start on Wednesday. The Mayor has asked for the suspension to be stayed until his appeal has been heard. The appeal will seek review of both whether his comments were a breach of the section of the code of conduct which prohibits bringing one's office into disrepute and whether the sanction is appropriate.

It is estimated that the legal costs of the appeal will be around £80,000, which will have to be funded by the Mayor should he lose.

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