Some of the signatories to a letter criticising Ken Livingstone’s attitudes to jewish voters now say they back his election to City Hall.
Last month a number of Jewish Labour supporters wrote to Labour leader Ed Miliband following a meeting between Livingstone and Jewish community groups.
According to the original letter, which was published by the Jewish Chronicle, “At various points in the discussion Ken used the words Zionist, Jewish and Israeli, interchangeably, as if they meant the same, and did so in a pejorative manner.”
The letter also claimed Livingstone “stated that he did not expect the Jewish community to vote Labour as votes for the left are inversely proportional to wealth levels, and suggested that as the Jewish community is rich, we simply wouldn’t vote for him.”
Mr Livingstone later claimed his comments applied equally to affluent voters in all communities, a claim he repeated this week at a debate organised by the London Jewish Forum.
The letter prompted a number of Labour supporters to denounce Livingstone, including Guardian writer Jonathan Freedland who said he was unable to back the former Mayor’s election bid.
The row is widely attributed for Livingstone’s poll ratings declining after he started the year ahead of rival Boris Johnson.
However five of the signatories to the original letter now say they support his re-election bid.
In a new letter they call on the London Jewish Forum to provide “scrutiny” of City Hall “particularly if Ken is elected”
But they claim: “Under Ken as Mayor, we will get irritated, upset and annoyed but we will get lots of services and lots of engagement and an improved London.”
Citing the closeness of this week’s YouGov poll, the letter ends: “If Ken was still 6-8 points behind then maybe one would not vote or vote wastefully, but it is 51%-49% according to the latest opinion polls.
“With our eyes open and breathing deeply maybe with a sigh or two, the time has come to endorse Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London…”
In recent days a number of Livingstone’s Labour critics, including former mayoral rival Oona King, have swung behind Livingstone’s campaign in an effort to counter the “Ken deficit” which sees him lagging behind Labour’s own polling numbers.
Candidates for Mayor include Jenny Jones (Green party), Ken Livingstone (Labour), Lawrence Webb (UKIP) Boris Johnson (Conservative) and Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat). A full list of candidates can be found here.