London mayoral election gay hustings: Ken Livingstone urges Muslims be treated fairly

15:57 14 April 2012

London mayoral candidates (left - right) Jenny Jones, Brian Paddick, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone attend the London Gay Mayoral Hustings hosted by Stonewall at the British Film Institute

London mayoral candidates (left - right) Jenny Jones, Brian Paddick, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone attend the London Gay Mayoral Hustings hosted by Stonewall at the British Film Institute

Ken Livingstone has called for Londoners to be united after claiming that it is “the Muslims’ turn now” to be discriminated against.

Mr Livingstone said he would like to see Muslims depicted in a “better balance”.

Labour’s London mayoral candidate, who is competing to take back City Hall from Conservative Boris Johnson, also claimed that right-wing politicians “pander to bigotry”.

He said: “In 1906 the front page of the Daily Mail’s headline was ‘Jews bring crime and disease to Britain’.

“Then it was the blacks, then it was the Irish, then it was the lesbians and gays - there has always got to be an enemy.

“Right-wing politicians pander to bigotry.

“I remember the deputy leader of the Tory group at the GLC, when we launched our lesbian and gay policies, said to me ‘Every time I make a homophobic speech in Ruislip-Northwood I get an extra 1,000 votes’.

“It is the Muslims’ turn now. Don’t be divided.

“No Muslims ever came to me and said ‘I want homosexuality banned’. Muslims came to this city to flee oppressive culture. They came here so their children could have democracy, that they could achieve their best.”

Mr Livingstone was referring to comments he made while visiting Finsbury Park Mosque on March 16.

He is reported to have said he wants to make London a “beacon” that demonstrates the words of the Prophet Mohammed - particularly his last sermon, which preaches equality.

Mr Livingstone made his comments as London’s mayoral candidates appealed to the gay community for votes.

During Stonewall’s hustings at BFI Southbank, Mr Livingstone took a verbal blow from rival Mr Johnson.

The flamboyant Tory made a joke about Mr Livingstone’s party political broadcast.

The election film features Londoners urging him to win the race - the clip moved Mr Livingstone to tears.

Mr Johnson said: “I will just say to my old chum on my right, Ken Livingstone, he is not the only person capable of shedding hot tears of real emotion at the prospect of his return to power in this city.”

But then Green candidate Jenny Jones took a swipe at Mr Johnson, calling the new Routemaster buses an “ego project”.

She said: “It is interesting with the budget that we have got at City Hall - it is clear that quite often there are little ego projects that get under way and I would say that the new bus for London is one of those projects that is costing far too much.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick, former deputy commissioner of the Met Police and Britain’s most senior openly gay officer, said that there needs to be a “culture of change” at Scotland Yard.

He said: “A poll the other week showed that 20 per cent of Londoners do not believe that the police are on their side and I think that proportion may even be higher because of the history that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community has had, particularly with laws which specifically discriminated against men and the enthusiasm with which the police enforced those laws.

“There needs to be an absolute culture change in the police.

“What I promise you is if I become the mayor and the crime commissioner on May 3, I will put that pressure on to deal with racism and homophobia within the police.”

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “It’s really impressive that all of the main mayoral candidates wanted to engage lesbian, gay and bisexual Londoners - something that would have been unthinkable 15 or 20 years ago.

“What was particularly interesting was that many of the people in the audience were completely undecided about how they were going to vote, so clearly no one should take London’s 350,000 gay voters for granted.”

Related articles

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Erik Lamela’s ridiculous rabona goal last night inspired us to look for a few people who it didn’t go so well for.

Read more

Duchess of Cambridge makes her third public appearance in two days.

Read more

Brad Pitt came in for some teasing when he appeared on Zach Galifianakis’ Funny Or Die show Between Two Ferns.

Read more

Promotions

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Dojo gives you hand picked recommendations for events, places and activities in London

Tired of always hearing about some amazing event in London after its gone, missing out on the best activities? That’s where Dojo comes in.

The Messiah has returned to Newsnight, And this time Russell Brand was airing his controversial opinions to new presenter Evan Davis.

You wouldn’t want to pay £1.7 billion would you? Well neither does David Cameron – and here’s why.

Mobile phone footage could hold crucial evidence about what happened.

Scientists have found that cooking with olive oil is better than cooking with many of the seed oils.

TOP Stories

Top left: Martin Dowden; Top right: Richard Randall-Edmunds; Bottom left: Arnold Austin; Bottom right: Solomon Nicholson.

The Metropolitan Police have appealed for help in tracing an unusually high number of London men over the past two days.

The camera is over there, mate: Anton Newell's mugshot from British Transport Police

A man from Wood Green’s Marlborough Road has been sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing from South Acton Overground station twice in a week.

Yesterday, 17:48
Zaire enjoying her cake at London Zoo

This sweeth-toothed gorilla celebrated her birthday in style - by filling her face with a special cake made by Great British Bake Off finalist Richard Burr.

London Bloggers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit:

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.