Livingstone to Prescott: ‘Ghastly’ ex-Blairites to blame for Labour party suspension (RT SHOW)
The pair have previously engaged in a war of words, with ex-mayor Livingstone once calling Lord Prescott an “embarrassment” for attacking the leadership of Ed Miliband.
An advocate of re-engaging with Labour’s leftist roots following the Blair years, Livingstone also told Prescott to “retire” in 2013.
“Retire - you have had your turn, you screwed it up, don’t try and wreck it for others,” Livingstone said.
“For Prescott to criticise anyone else given his record in government is just ridiculous. The last thing Ed Miliband needs to do is take advice from him.”
Deputy prime minister during Labour’s Tony Blair era, Prescott has fought his fair share of battles inside and out of the House of Commons, including the extraordinary moment he clocked an egg-throwing protester square on the jaw.
So it was perhaps no surprise that when handed the presenter’s role of the political panel show Prescott aimed a few testing body shots at his Labour colleague.
Zeroing in on Livingstone’s recent comments linking Adolf Hitler to Zionism, Prescott asked the former London mayor if he courted controversy and whether he realised the damage it can do to the Labour Party.
But Livingstone said he stood by his comments in an interview with BBC Radio London, during which he said: “Let’s remember, when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that the Jews would be moved to Israel.”
“He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.”
Speaking on News Thing, Livingstone said he was attempting to challenge allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party, and suggested he wasn’t aware of the controversy it would cause until “all these ghastly ex-Blairites start[ed] screaming.”
Livingstone also refused to blame the new Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for his subsequent suspension, instead rounding on the “bureaucracy” created by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“This is Blair’s legacy, he gave the bureaucrats the power to suspend. We were elected, the bureaucrats are the people who are appointed.
“It’s the formal [Labour Party] staff appointed mainly in Blair’s era - they are not elected.”
Livingstone said that under Tony Blair the Labour Party’s administrative authority, the National Executive Committee (NEC), changed for the worse.
“When we were on the NEC together, you had about one suspension a year. Now it has become an industry,” he told Prescott.