Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, has resigned from the Labour party amid a scandal on anti-Semitism.
Livingstone was an ex-MP who was going through a new disciplinary process this week. He had been suspended since 2016 over the comments that he made regarding Zionism and Adolf Hitler.
Livingstone informed the BBC that he was resigning because his lawyers advised him that if he lost his case and was expelled, it would take a minimum of two years before any legal challenge would be resolved.
Livingstone said that he did not accept that he was guilty of anti-Semitism or bringing Labour into disrepute. However, his case had resulted in a “distraction” for the party and its political ambitions.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader who counted Livingstone as one of his allies but has been fighting accusations regarding anti-Semitism within the Labour party, said that the resignation was “sad” but was the “right thing to do.”
In April 2016, Livingstone said that he had never seen some evidence of anti-semitism in the Labour party in his 47 years, saying: “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election … his policy was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism.”
Livingstone’s comment caused massive offence, and Livingstone was accused of attempting to manipulate history.
Last year, a tribunal decided to extend the one-year ban of Livingstone from the party, causing him to say that the process was like “sitting through a court in North Kore,” while he also said that the original interview with Vanessa Feltz that was mentioning Zionism was considered a “crime against humanity.”
In a statement that was released today, Livingstone said that he still maintained that the stir was brought about by a “historical argument.”
Livingstone added that he “abhorred” anti-Semitism and that he was “truly sorry” that his historical arguments had “caused offence and upset in the Jewish community.”