The London Assembly has condemned former Mayor Ken Livingstone for describing Boris Johnson’s new Chief of Staff Edward Lister as “the Radko Mladic of local government” at a public event last week.
Livingstone is challenging successor Boris Johnson at next year’s Mayoral elections.
On Wednesday Assembly Members passed a motion condemning Livingstone’s remarks after questioning Lister on his past policies at Wandsworth and the advice he’ll provide to the Mayor in future.
Conservative AMs proposed the motion which also welcomed Lister’s appointment to his new role following the death of Sir Simon Milton.
The motion was backed by Liberal Democrats on the Assembly however Green Party AM Darren Johnson said he condemned Livingstone’s comments but was unwilling to back the uncritical description of Lister’s past record in the motion.
Labour AMs voted against the motion which was passed 13 votes in favour to 8 against with one abstention.
Before the vote Livingstone’s running-mate Val Shawcross, who was present when the remark was made, said it was a “bad joke” which she did not agree with. Conservative AM Brian Coleman said her remarks would “haunt her”.
James Cleverly AM, who proposed the amended motion, said: “I have friends and colleagues who served in Bosnia during the 1990s who still find it painful to recall the incredible horrors that were perpetrated against innocent civilians during the conflict.
“Comparing Edward Lister to the instigators of such vicious crimes is both personally offensive and degrades the suffering of the victims of ethnic violence in the Balkans. While politicians are rightly expected to have thick skins there arte some comments that are beyond the pale and should have no place in London politics.
The full text of the motion reads as follows:
“That this Assembly notes the answers to the questions asked and welcomes the appointment of Edward Lister to the role of Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor, Planning. This Assembly believes his long and distinguished experience in local government will benefit all of London and calls on all Members of the Assembly to disassociate themselves from the disgusting personal attacks made by a member of the public comparing him to a mass murdered and war criminal.”