Ken­was ‘hit by Jewish rows’

Liv­ing­stone’s deputy ad­mits Qaradawi and Fine­gold af­fairs ‘dam­aged’ him

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SI­MON ROCKER

NICKY GAVRON, the out­go­ing deputy mayor of Lon­don, ac­knowl­edged this week that the Qaradawi and Fine­gold in­ci­dents had cost Ken Liv­ing­stone Jewish votes.

Ms Gavron, the only Jewish politi­cian on the Lon­don As­sem­bly, noted that the mayor had even­tu­ally apol­o­gised over com­par­ing Jewish jour­nal­ist Oliver Fine­gold to a con­cen­tra­tioncamp guard.

But asked about the orig­i­nal in­ci­dent in 2005 and Mr Liv­ing­stone’s wel­come to rad­i­cal Is­lamic cleric Sheikh Al Yusuf Qaradawi the year be­fore, she said: “It was very dam­ag­ing in re­la­tion to the Jewish vote… it did cause of­fence.”

De­spite Mr Liv­ing­stone’s de­feat, she main­tained that Labour had done “ex­cep­tion­ally well” in Lon­don over­all com­pared with the rest of the coun­try and had gained a seat on the as­sem­bly.

One of the party’s three Lon­don­wide as­sem­bly mem­bers, she also con­tested the Barnet and Cam­den con­stituency. Al­though not win­ning it, she in­creased the Labour share of the vote in the con­stituency from un­der 27 per cent to over 30 per cent. (Four­teen of the as­sem­bly mem­bers are elected on a con­stituency ba­sis, while the re­main­ing 11 by pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion across the cap­i­tal).

Mr Liv­ing­stone’s share of first-pref­er­ence votes in Barnet and Cam­den — the con­stituency with the high­est Jewish pop­u­la­tion — dropped from 37.7 per cent in 2004 to 35.4 per cent last week.

But the higher over­all turnout in Lon­don com­pared to 2004 had pre­vented the BNP gain­ing fur­ther elec­toral suc­cess, she said. “It’s shock­ing we have got one mem­ber. If we hadn’t had that turnout, we prob­a­bly would have got two or three BNP mem­bers.”

Had Mr Liv­ing­stone won a third term, she would have con­tin­ued as his deputy, hav­ing taken re­spon­si­bil­ity in his pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion for strate­gic plan­ning which cov­ered af­ford­able hous­ing, trans­port and the en­vi­ron­ment. A third Labour may­oralty would have seen a “rail re­nais­sance” and other sig­nif­i­cant projects, she said.

“One of the things we some­how didn’t get across was that it takes time to ac­tu­ally build up a new author­ity af­ter 14 years of no Lon­don gov­ern­ment with very lit­tle in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture and no voice on the in­ter­na­tional stage,” she said.

But she is keen now to en­sure that the planned en­vi­ron­men­tal and cli­mate-change ini­tia­tives go ahead.

Her of­fice had even been con­sid­er­ing a green plan for Lon­don Jewry.

Neville Sassie­nie, chair of the Board of Deputies so­cial-is­sues ac­tion group, said: “We were dis­cussing co-op­er­a­tion over a scheme for green­ing Lon­don Jewry and be­gin­ning to work with the Greater Lon­don Author­ity’s en­vi­ron­men­tal peo­ple. We very much hope it will con­tinue un­der the new mayor.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.