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

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Lord Sewel resigns from the House of Lords (Picture: PA Images)

Lord Sewel has quit the House of Lords after video footage emerged of him allegedly taking cocaine with two prostitutes in his London flat, even snorting a line off one woman’s breasts.

Friday, July 24, 2015
Commons Speaker John Bercow spent nearly £400 on a chauffeur-driven journey to speak about restoring reputation after the expenses scandal (Picture: PA Images)

Commons Speaker John Bercow took a chauffeur-driven car to a conference 0.7 miles from Parliament which cost the taxpayer a staggering £172.

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Fleet Primary School. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A counter-terrorism agency has intervened at a Hampstead primary school where a child was deemed at risk of being drawn into Islamic extremism.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
New late-night club licences will be harder to get under Hackney Council's plans (Picture: Dalston Superstore)

Plans by Hackney Council to curtail late night licences in the popular clubbing spots of Shoreditch and Dalston will threaten the area’s “star power”, according to campaigners fighting the proposals.

Monday, June 29, 2015
Protesters at an earlier anti-austerity demo in Berlin in March (Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Owen Jones, Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn and Green MP Caroline Lucas are all at a rally in Trafalgar Square to show solidarity with Greece this evening.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Police clashed with disabled protesters in the lobby of the House of Commons (Photo: Debbie Jolly/PA Wire)

Police have been accused of “heavy handed tactics” as they blocked disabled protesters, many in wheelchairs, from entering the House of Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions today.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

You could be zooming around a track of your choice!

Are you a competitive adrenaline junkie with a need for speed? Or looking for a fun family day out?

Read more
Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more