By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) – Ken Livingstone announced his resignation from the Labour Party on Monday, saying issues surrounding claims of his anti-Semitism and his suspension from the party had become a distraction from the objective to replace a Tory government.
“After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party,” Livingstone said in a statement.
“The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour Party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time — which is to replace a Tory government,” Livingstone added.
Livingstone, 72, had been suspended from the party since 2016 after he was accused of anti-Semitism when he spoke about Adolf Hitler and Zionism.
Livingstone has repeatedly denied these claims, asking “how can truth be offensive?” and arguing that there is a clear difference between being anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.
“I do not accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor that I am in any way guilty of anti-Semitism. I abhor anti-Semitism, I have fought it all my life and will continue to do so,” the former mayor of London said.
Livingstone was mayor of London from 2000 to 2006 and his mayoralty saw the introduction of environmental policies, improvement of rights of ethnic minorities and mass investment and development in the poorer boroughs of London.