The sorry saga of what Labour decides to do about Ken Livingstone isn’t over yet. In the last few moments, Jeremy Corbyn has released a statement saying Livingstone will now face a fresh probe into comments that he made about Hitler since yesterday – when he avoided being booted out of the party for doing exactly the same thing. Corbyn said that it was ‘deeply disappointing’ that Livingstone had refused to apologise for his remarks. He also criticised the former London mayor for continuing to do what he seems to do best these days: talk about Hitler. The Labour leader said:
‘Many people are understandably upset that he has continued to make offensive remarks which could open him to further disciplinary action…Ken’s subsequent comments and actions will now be considered by the National Executive Committee after representations from party members.’
Those who criticised the initial decision not to expel Livingstone have backed Corbyn’s statement. Mike Katz, from the Jewish Labour Movement, said that Corbyn’s ‘swift response’ was a welcome step. While Tom Watson appears to have finally got the unity memo sent out by Labour last year, saying that:
‘Jeremy and I are in complete agreement on this. Ken Livingstone’s recent comments have brought our party into disrepute’
Two things now seem likely: Ken Livingstone will continue to dig a hole for himself. And the embarrassment for Labour will only intensify the longer this all drags on. The sooner that the party rectifies the mistaken decision not to get rid of Livingstone, the better.