Livingstone blames Tony Blair for London 7/7 attacks
Speaking on BBC Question Time, Livingstone, who was mayor when the attacks took place, said Blair had repeatedly ignored the warnings of security services and had effectively “killed 52 Londoners.”
When asked about the impending vote on whether to extend British airstrikes against Islamic State from Iraq into Syria, Livingstone said the UK “shouldn’t get caught up again” in a foreign war.
“If I was there [in the Shadow Cabinet], I’d say bombing on its own isn’t enough. We shouldn’t get caught up again. I remember when Tony Blair was told by the security services: ‘If you go into Iraq, we will be a target for terrorism.’ And he ignored that advice and it killed 52 Londoners.”
He was confronted on the panel by former Labour adviser Matt Forde, who called his assertion “shameful.”
“This idea that you can absolve the people that killed those innocent Londoners by blaming it on Tony Blair is shameful.”
Livingstone and Forde traded blows.
“Well, you can because…” Livingstone began.
“Blame it on the people who carried out the atrocity,” Forde interrupted.
“Yes, and go and look what they put on their website. They did those killings because of our invasion of Iraq,” Livingstone argued.
Outraged, Forde sniped back: “Well then, just accept the propaganda of the terrorists then, Ken.”
Courting further controversy, Livingstone said the bombers “gave their lives” for their cause.
“They said what they believed. They took Londoners’ lives in protest against our invasion of Iraq ... We were lied to by Tony Blair about Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”
Prime Minister David Cameron is currently preparing to hold a vote on extending airstrikes into Syria.
He initially promised to only hold the vote once enough support from MPs was guaranteed to pass the measures.
On Thursday, the prime minister came one step closer to holding the vote after it was revealed the majority of the Labour Shadow Cabinet support airstrikes, in defiance of their leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Cameron unveiled his strategy in the Commons on Thursday.
Corbyn is expected to continue to oppose further airstrikes. He says he is “very concerned” about the impact of military action in the country.