Ken Livingstone’s remarks about the motives of the Boston bombing suspects have been widely condemned for suggesting that American foreign policy ‘fuels the anger’ that drove such young men into acts of terrorism. Tory chairman Grant Shapps has demanded the former Mayor of London apologise for causing offence:
‘These are irresponsible, insensitive and thoughtless comments which show why Ken Livingstone is not fit to hold public office. He should unreservedly apologise for the distress he has caused’
Brooks Newmark MP has gone one step further and written to Ed Miliband this afternoon, asking the Labour leader to also condemn the remarks and remove Livingstone from Labour’s National Executive Committee. Coffee House has seen a copy of the letter, which you can read in full below:
‘I find it wholly reprehensible for Mr Livingstone to link the Boston bombings to Western intervention in the Middle East. In doing so, he suggests that the actions of the two Boston bombers were justified and excusable. I am sure that both you and the Labour Party agree that terrorism, which in this case killed three innocent people and injured many others, is never justified and never excusable.
‘As a member of Labour’s NEC, Mr Livingstone has been placed in a position of responsibility and influence within your Party. As leader of the Labour Party, I call on you to condemn these disgusting remarks and remove Mr. Livingstone from your NEC. I know you will want to do so as soon as possible to make clear that neither you nor the Labour Party condones such beliefs.’
During his reign as Mayor of London, Livingstone was widely praised for his speech in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings, which demonstrated a sensitivity missing in these remarks. But he has been critical of American’s foreign policy in the past, so his views will come as little surprise to those well acquainted with Red Ken.
UPDATE: Livingstone spoken out to defend his comments, stating they were not a ‘specific’ commentary on the Boston bombings. According to the BBC website, Livingstone said ‘they were a broader explanation of what has motivated terrorists over several decades to carry out attacks on the West and have a particular dislike for America’.