A spokeswoman for the Adjudication Panel
of England which hears
complaints against local authorities, said it had suspended
Livingstone, 60, for four weeks from March 1 in a case brought by a
on earth has any Jewish group got to do with this anyway? I have a
great-great-great-great-grandfather named Abraham Lorillard, does that
make me Jewish? If not, do I have a board of English deputies ready to
take up arms on my behalf if Ken Livingstone insults me? If this
reporter holds a
British passport then he is British. He has the same rights here as I
do, as a British citizen, no more and no less. My religion need not be
known, nor need my ethnic origin. The first is a private matter, the
second is recently European/American/English/German/Irish/Scots and
who knows and who cares. Who gives a damn what this reporter's religion
or ethnicity is?
historians will make of this I cannot imagine, but as the ancient
Greeks would have it, "Those whom the gods would destroy they first
The fact that the Adjudication Panel is not elected is a complete red herring. They should definitely NOT be elected. The Mayor is elected, the panel should be professionals who do not come newly to their job but know it well, and know how it has evolved since its inception, how their decisions are based on experience over the years and history from before their panel even existed. The present panel have shown themselves to be not up to speed, and should resign or be replaced.
5th 2006 Thank God the judiciary have not lost their
marbles, though it took a long time to find the complex legal route to
He was suspended for his remarks to a Jewish journalist likening him to a Nazi concentration camp guard.
The exchange with Oliver Finegold happened as the mayor left an event in February last year.
The mayor was challenging a decision by the Adjudication Panel for England that his comments breached the Greater London Authority's code of conduct.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews has demanded an apology from the mayor, regardless of the outcome of the case.
"What he doesn't seem to accept is a number of constituents for whom he is actually mayor - that is Holocaust survivors and the Jewish community - were offended by what he said and that apology he seems to have problems in giving," Jon Benjamin, the chief executive of the organisation, said.
At the High Court, Mr Justice Collins said the suspension would be overturned, regardless of whether or not the mayor won his appeal against the Adjudication Panel for England's finding.
The judge said: "I have made it clear the suspension will be quashed whatever I decide on whether the Panel's finding was correct."
He reserved his final judgment on Mr
appeal to a later date, saying: "It is not an easy case. There are
certain ramifications, whatever I decide, which will affect other
The public were "heartily sick of the whole saga", Mr Benjamin said.
"I think we probably know what the chances of the mayor apologising now are, so we're not holding our breath," he said.
During the two-day hearing, Mr Livingstone's lawyers argued the panel's decision, made in February, was legally flawed on a number of grounds.
This included the fact the Mayor had not been acting in his official capacity at the time of the incident.
The panel's ruling was defended by the Ethical Standards Officer, who referred the case to the disciplinary body.
The ESO contended the Mayor's arguments were over-complicated and "trivialised" the code of conduct and there was no basis for the judge substituting his own judgment for that of the panel.
John Biggs, Labour's London Assembly member for City and London, welcomed the judge's decision to quash the order saying: "It should be for Londoners to decide if the Mayor should be removed from office and not an unelected quango. I am pleased that the judge agrees with us."If the appeal fails, Mr Livingstone will be responsible for paying his own legal costs, estimated at £80,000, although he will continue to be paid.