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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 11:18 GMT
Labour MPs call for Ken apology
Ken Livingstone
The mayor's language was 'inexcusable'
Six Labour MPs have signed a Commons motion calling for Ken Livingstone to apologise for likening a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard.

The London mayor has said he will not say sorry for his taped remarks to the Evening Standard journalist and has attacked the Daily Mail group.

The motion says his dispute with the group "cannot excuse his language".

It added Mr Livingstone should begin to rebuild his "damaged relationship" with London's Jewish community.

The motion was signed by Andrew Dismore (Hendon), Linda Perham (Ilford North), Barbara Roche (Hornsey and Wood Green), Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside), Siobhan McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) and Joan Humble (Blackpool North and Fleetwood).

Holocaust

It read: "No matter how long or deep his dispute with Associated Newspapers is, that dispute cannot justify or excuse his language."

They say he should apologise to both the Jewish community and the Evening Standard reporter.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has also called for an apology.

On Tuesday, the mayor told a news conference at City Hall there would be no apology or expression of regret to the media group, and accused the newspaper of being a "leading advocate of anti-Semitism for half a century".

He added that over the past two weeks his "main concern" was for many Jewish Londoners, and regretted if his comments "may have been seen to downplay the horror and magnitude of the Holocaust".

'Red herring'

In response, the Evening Standard said Mr Livingstone's efforts at drawing a line under the matter had "done nothing to mend the hurt caused by his original remarks".

The Daily Mail said the mayor's attempt to drag the paper into a row with the Standard was "a red herring".

Jewish leaders have responded to Mr Livingstone's comments.

Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks said: "His failure to offer an unequivocal apology is both regrettable and damages the stature of his office."

On Monday, an investigation by local government watchdog the Standards Board began into allegations Mr Livingstone had brought his office into disrepute.

The board has the power to suspend or bar the mayor from office for five years.




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Watch all of Ken Livingstone's statement



SEE ALSO:
Boris opposes Livingstone apology
17 Feb 05 |  Politics


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