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THE BARRISTER who defended Ken Livingstone in last week’s hearing over his comments about Hitler and Zionism has been criticised after a tweet from his chambers account described MPs who support Israel as being “part of the problem”.
Michael Mansfield QC also advised Jeremy Corbyn during a legal challenge over Labour’s leadership election last summer.
The comment was posted on the Mansfield Chambers account on the same day the JC revealed Labour Friends of Israel was launching a £1.35 million fund for co-existence projects between Israelis and Palestinians.
The tweet on October 26 last year read: “UK MPs support for Israel ignore the fact that they are part of the problem not the solution.”
The message, which has since been deleted but has been seen by the JC, included the hashtag “#LFInot4peace” — a reference to LFI’s announcement on the same day of the “For Israel, For Palestine, For Peace” initiative.
In a statement, Mr Mansfield said: “I did not write this and was unaware of it… The account has been closed down because my chambers has merged with another set. I personally do not engage with Twitter, and I do not have a Twitter account myself.”
He added: “I would not wish to criticise a project of this kind unless there was a failure by its proponents to address the fundamental political legal and economic inequalities which continue to beset the Palestinian people.”
Angry moderate Labour MPs are understood to have included the tweet in what they call a “dossier of bile”, outlining examples of hatred since Ken Livingstone was first suspended from the party last April.
Meanwhile Mr Livingstone faces a second probe into his outbursts since he was first suspended from the party. The Sun on Sunday revealed former party activist Andrew Lavery had made a formal complaint to police accusing the former Mayor of London of inciting racial hatred against Jews. Scotland Yard confirmed it was investigating.
Labour will also launch a separate investigation into the workings of the party’s National Constitution Committee (NCC), its highest disciplinary body, after the JC revealed one member of the panel ruling on Mr Livingstone’s case was
Ken Livingstone a member of a hard-left faction who had expressed pro-Palestinian views. Party chiefs fear the departure of the Mike Creighton, Labour’s former director of audit and risk management, weeks before the NCC held its hearing into Mr Livingstone left the disciplinary panel without an effective supervisor. Last week the JC revealed Russell Cartwright was one of three NCC panel members who decided against expelling Mr Livingstone. Moderate Labour MPs have now contacted Iain McNicol, Labour general secretary, to express “serious concerns” over Mr Cartwright’s presence on the NCC.