Anti-semitism campaign groups have welcomed the decision to sack Ken Livingstone from his Saturday morning talk-in show on LBC radio but criticised the media conglomerate for allowing the former Mayor of London an audience to repeat his controversial comments about Hitler for more than a month since he first caused consternation with his comments.
Livingstone has not had his contract renewed for the show he has hosted since September 2008. The disgraced former Labour MP and advisor to leader Jeremy Corbyn was currently off air because of broadcasting rules on political bias during a major election like the EU Referendum.
“Having offended Jewish people, and others committed to decency and anti-racism, Ken Livingstone proceeded to repeat his comments as widely and frequently as possible in the media. Global has now removed his most prominent outlet for doing so,” Jonathan Sacerdoti of the Campaign Against Antisemitism.
"The strongest response to racism is for society to shun racists, which is what LBC’s owner Global Radio has rightly done, and we applaud them for heeding our calls," said CAAS spokesman Jonathan Sacerdoti.
Livingstone told The Guardian that he thought the decision by LBC's parent company Global Media was "odd". "I was told on Monday that my contract would not be renewed," Mr Livingstone told the Guardian.
"It was an annual contract and doesn’t run out until the end of July/early August. I’ve been on every Saturday since September 2008 except for when I’ve been on holiday...and a break ahead of the 2012 mayoral election."
“They decided not to renew the contract, which is odd because when me and David [Mellor] started doing it they had 50,000 listeners, now they have 300,000,” he said.“They are overwhelmed with advertising. You would have assumed a good capitalist would want to carry on making a profit.”
Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party in April after he caused a storm with his comment that Adolf Hitler was "supporting Zionism" when he rose to power in the 1930s. Defending Labour MP Naz Shah who suggested that Israeli Jews should be moved to America, Mr Livingstone played down the scale of anti-Semitism in the party and questioned the criticism.
He said: “Let's remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”