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Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Police chief attacks Livingstone

Livingstone wants more dialogue with WTO protesters
A senior police officer has accused independent London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone of encouraging terrorists.

Inspector Glen Smyth, head of London's Metropolitan Police Federation, said Mr Livingstone "gave succour" to the IRA during the 1980s and the Direct Action demonstrators who protested during last year's World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Seattle.

London Mayor
Mr Smyth, whose organisation represents 24,000 London police officers, said on Tuesday: "Police officers should be able to rely on the politicians to be very careful indeed about what they say that might give succour to these people.

"As a politician, you cannot give succour to terrorism - you do it at your peril."

Responding to Mr Smyth's remarks, Labour candidate Frank Dobson said the police would have no confidence in Mr Livingstone as mayor.

Livingstone 'soft' on crime

The former health secretary, who is trailing Mr Livingstone in the polls, said: "Londoners should be afraid.

"If Livingstone is elected mayor, the police believe that he will be soft on law-breakers of any sort.

Ken Livingstone
Mr Livingstone launched his campaign "colours" on Wednesday
"Inspector Smyth has said that his members have been infuriated by Livingstone's attitude to terrorism.

Mr Dobson added: "If I am elected mayor, I will back the police and the people of London in the fight against crime."

But, launching his new campaign "colours" on Wednesday, Mr Livingstone dismissed criticism of his approach to crime and policing.

"I have not come under attack from anyone who has ever read my policies on policing," he said.

Mr Smyth's comments follow remarks made by Mr Livingstone at the weekend.

'No advantage'

The Brent East MP said on ITV's Jonathan Dimbleby programme he would not welcome the WTO to London unless its leaders agreed to speak to demonstrators.

He said: "Until the WTO can sort out its relationships with the people that get angry with it, I don't see any advantage to inviting an organisation to London that's likely to bring riots in its wake and injure police officers."

The debate between Dobson and Livingstone is hotting up
On the programme Mr Livingstone also took questions on his views on the IRA, after he called them "freedom fighters" during the 1980s.

He said: "That is how the IRA saw themselves - at the time the British Government's views were that these were simply psychopaths and godfathers of crime.

"They denied a political motive, I therefore said you've got to understand the political motive of the IRA."

  • An attempt to have Ken Livingstone installed as Labour's candidate for mayor failed on Tuesday.

    Left-winger Liz Davies said at a meeting of the party's ruling National Executive Committee that the selection process which led to Mr Dobson's victory had been "discrediting to Labour's democratic credentials".

    A resolution to bring more accountability into future electoral colleges was also defeated.

    The NEC voted 22-3 against balloting party members before the casting the votes in selection contests.

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    27 Mar 00 | UK Politics
    Livingstone 'not much help'
    18 Jan 00 | UK Politics
    'Direct action' row hits Livingstone
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