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Livingstone suspended for City Hall Nazi comments

The Mayor of London is to be suspended for comments made to an Evening Standard journalist as he left a City Hall party last year.

The controversial decision to suspend Ken Livingstone from the office of Mayor of London for a month has propelled the Standards Board for England into the spotlight. The body which enforces the codes of conduct for elected local government members is based in the Cottons Centre off Tooley Street.

The case was referred to the Adjudication Panel, the members of which are appointed by the Lord Chancellor in a similar manner to magistrates, because the London Assembly had already taken a view on the Mayor's conduct, making it inappropriate for their standards committee to hear the case.

Commenting on the finding, Sir Anthony Holland, chair of the Standards Board for England, said: "The public expects all elected members to conduct themselves in a manner that is beyond reproach. It is right that the facts of this case have been aired and considered in public in this way."

Livingstone's deputy, Labour London Assembly member Nicky Gavron, who will assume the Mayor's responsibility's during his suspension, is standing by her boss, saying that he she doesn't believe that Livingstone "has an anti-Semitic bone in his body".

But other parties were less supportive. "It has done the reputation of the GLA no good that it had to come to this," said Baroness Hamwee, Lib Dem chair of the London Assembly. "The Assembly called on Mr Livingstone at the time to apologise for his remarks, and had he done so the affair might have died down without so much time and public as well as private money being wasted, and further damage done to the profession of politics."

Local MP and Lib Dem leadership candidate Simon Hughes said: "A large number of Londoners found the Mayor's remarks clearly offensive. It is sad that the Mayor Livingstone has not accepted that, nor chosen to apologise for what he said. Ken should do that now and demonstrate that he is a mayor for all of London not just certain groups within the capital."

The Finegold-Livingstone exchange in full

Oliver Finegold: Mr Livingstone, Evening Standard. How did tonight go?

Livingstone: How awful for you. Have you thought of having treatment?

Finegold: How did tonight go?

Livingstone: Have you thought of having treatment?

Finegold: Was it a good party? What does it mean for you?

Livingstone: What did you do before? Were you a German war criminal?

Finegold: No, I'm Jewish, I wasn't a German war criminal and I'm actually quite offended by that. So, how did tonight go?

Livingstone: Ah right, well you might be, but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren't you?

Finegold: Great, I have you on record for that. So, how was tonight?

Livingstone: It's nothing to do you with you because your paper is a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots.

Finegold: I'm a journalist and I'm doing my job. I'm only asking for a comment.

Livingstone: Well, work for a paper that doesn't have a record of supporting facism.

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