.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Corbyn scores double whammy over Livingstone appointment

As if provoking his defence spokesperson by appointing Ken Livingstone as co-chair of Labour's Trident review team was not bad enough, Jeremy Corbyn achieved a double whammy for his party today, through the way his chosen appointee subsequently conducted himself.

According to the Telegraph, Mr. Livingstone responded to criticism by Kevan Jones MP, who has won plaudits for the way he spoke out about his experience of depression, by saying that Mr. Jones “might need some psychiatric help”:

Mr Corbyn is under mounting pressure from leading Labour MPs to sack Mr Livingstone just hours after it emerged he had got the new role overseeing the defence review.

Mr Jones himself and Chris Leslie, the former shadow chancellor, called on Mr Livingstone to go while a string of other senior figures expressed outrage at the comments.

The row erupted amid anger that Mr Livingstone, who opposes renewing Trident, had been given an influential role in the review into Labour’s defence policy.

Friends close to Maria Eagle, the shadow defence secretary who was heading up the review, told The Telegraph that she heard about the news on Twitter and is considering resigning.

The civil war erupted after Mr Jones criticised the appointment.

Mr Livingstone told The Mirror: “I think he might need some psychiatric help. He's obviously very depressed and disturbed.

“He should pop off and see his GP before he makes these offensive comments.”

Mr Jones said in response: "I find these comments gravely offensive not just personally but also to the many thousands who suffer from mental illness.

"This is why Ken Livingstone can't be taken seriously in defence or any other policy issues.

"I and a lot of people will be very angry about such insensitive and stupid comments.

"Offensive statements like this just reinforce the stigma about mental illness."

Ken Livingstone has since apologised, having been told to do so by Jeremy Corbyn, but the former London Mayor's remarks do not bode well for a leader who broke the mould not so long ago by appointing a spokesperson specifically on mental health.
Kevan Jones' declaration of his mental illness, along with that from the other side of the Chamber by Charles Walker, made headlines three years ago and continued to be discussed in the media for days afterwards. So for Livingstone to state that he was unaware of Jones' trouble shows him to be either remarkably out of touch with political developments or an egregious liar. Either make him unfit to participate in a committee advising the leader of the opposition.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?