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London Mayor Ken Livingstone wins appeal against suspension

DATE: 19 Oct 2006



The High Court (Mr Justice Collins) has allowed London Mayor Ken Livingstone's appeal against suspension from office for one month, for having likened a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard in February 2005. The suspension was imposed by a Case Tribunal of the Adjudication Panel for England.


During the hearing of the case the learned Judge indicated that the suspension would be quashed whatever he decided as to whether the Case Tribunal’s finding of a breach of the Code was correct.


In the judgment delivered today the learned Judge overturned the finding of breach of the Code holding that the Mayor had not brought his office into disrepute. He made that finding on broadly 3 grounds:


(1) The Code only applies where a member is exercising the functions of his office (see s. 52 of the Local Government Act 2000) and at the relevant time in question in this case the Mayor was neither acting in his official capacity nor exercising the functions of his office. The Mayor was doorstepped outside City Hall by an Evening Standard journalist while on his way home from a Mayoral function. (2) The Case Tribunal's finding of breach was contrary to the Mayor's rights of freedom of speech under the common law and Article 10 of the Convention; (3) The Case Tribunal wrongly considered that because of the Mayor's high profile it was not possible to separate the man and the office. In so doing the Case Tribunal watered down the test under the Code which requires disrepute to office not personal disrepute.

James Maurici represented Mr Livingstone and Timothy Morshead represented the Ethical Standards Officer (ESO).