A mere hour or so into his new role as the co-chair of Labour’s Trident review and Ken Livingstone is already facing calls to step down. The former mayor of London has managed to put his foot in after making an insensitive mental health jibe during an interview with the Mirror.
When asked about comments made by Kevan Jones — Labour’s shadow defence minister — questioning whether he was the right person to help lead the review, Livingstone said Jones ‘might need some psychiatric help’:
‘I think he might need some psychiatric help. He’s obviously very depressed and disturbed. He should pop off and see his GP before he makes these offensive comments.’
As Jones has been very open about his battle with depression in the past. In light of his own experiences, he tells Coffee House that ‘anyone who makes comments like this is fit to represent the Labour party in any forum’.
Alas Livingstone isn’t backing down. He has told Jones to ‘get over it’:
Ken: "If Kevan wants to apologise to me, then I will apologise. He needs to get over it."
— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) November 18, 2015
Although even Jeremy Corbyn has called on Ken to apologise, he has at least managed to find one comrade at this difficult time. Step forward George Galloway.
the witch-hunt turns on Ken Livingstone. Tooth by tooth claw by claw they are trying to defang JC. I defend Ken. pic.twitter.com/4xeTxC7gxc
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) November 18, 2015
The London mayoral hopeful has appeared on LBC to fight Livingstone’s corner. He says that rather than Livingstone’s comments being both insensitive and offensive, ‘the whole thing is a synthetic attack’ and in reality Jones is not ‘fit to tie’ Ken’s laces.
Despite Galloway’s best efforts, Mr S suspects Livingstone will be lucky to be remain in the role by end of play today.