Ken Livingstone rules out House of Lords peerage after London mayoral election defeat

10:44 08 May 2012

Labour

Labour's London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone (left) and Labour leader Ed Miliband. Photo: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Labour’s defeated London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has ruled out a return to high-profile politics in the House of Lords.

Mr Livingstone lost last week’s race for City Hall to Tory incumbent Boris Johnson.

After the defeat he said it would be his last election.

Asked whether he would accept a peerage, the former Mayor of London told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Oh God, no, spare me that. I’ve been punished enough.”

Mr Livingstone claimed Labour leader Ed Miliband could be the next Prime Minister and “transform Britain in a way that we haven’t seen for a very long time”.

He said that, for the last 30 years, Britain had taken a “wrong turning”, adding Mr Miliband was now “getting the economic strategy right”.

Mr Livingstone said the current government had “got away” with claims that the last Labour administration had saddled the country with debt.

He said: “For 30 years, Britain has taken a wrong turning. Inequality of wealth has doubled. We were told if we deregulated, if we liberated the banks, the whole economy would rise and there would be a trickle-down effect.

“Sadly, Tony Blair bought into that, New Labour bought into that. I think we are at a turning point in politics now. We have to make something that somebody wants to buy, we won’t just be able to rip off a bit of commission on all the financial transactions.

“I think a lot of the disillusion amongst working-class people, whatever their colour, is that the last Labour government didn’t create good jobs for working-class people.”

Mr Livingstone added: “If I have one criticism of Ed Miliband - and as well as being a friend, I think he is genuinely a Labour leader who will transform Britain in a way that we haven’t seen for a very long time - (it) is that I think he is far too concerned about carrying the discredited old Blairite wing with him.”

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