Left Watch

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Is Ken Livingstone backing George Galloway in Poplar and Limehouse against the official Labour candidate?

Galloway Leaflet Voters in the newly-drawn Poplar and Limehouse constituency have no fewer than ten candidates from which to choose come polling day.

Among them is the excellent Conservative candidate, Tim Archer, the sitting Labour MP for Poplar and Canning Town, Jim Fitzpatrick, and the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, George Galloway.

Above is a leaflet that Galloway has been distributing in the constituency (click it to enlarge) and below I have zoomed in on one section of it.

Picture 2
Yes, pictured with Galloway there is Ken Livingstone, the former Labour London mayor, who is desperate to stand for Labour again against Boris Johnson in 2012.

Has he given George Galloway an endorsement? Is that passage in inverted commas a quote from him or Galloway?

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then I cannot see how he can remain in the Labour Party.

If the answer to either of those questions is no, then Galloway should withdraw the leaflet immediately as it is misleading in the extreme. He is clearly implying that he has the support of Ken Livingstone.

Either way, answers are required.

Hat tip: Matt Woods

6.45pm update:

Elsewhere on Twitter, Mr Onions has the below excerpt from the leaflet of the Green candidate for Cambridge, Tony Juniper

Picture 8
Again, it would appear that either Ken Livingstone is endorsing a non-Labour candidate or the Green candidate is falsely claiming his support. Can anyone establish which is the case?

8pm update:

Ken Livingstone has just returned my call about these leaflets. He was very blasé about the whole issue, as you might have expected. Here's what he said:

"There's nothing new in this. At the 1989 European elections Lord Bethell used a picture with me on a leaflet. It must be my immense personal popularity; I think I'm on the leaflets of about three quarters of Labour candidates in London - they don't seek my permission, they just go up. If you stick a picture of me on your leaflet, it's not going to do you any harm. Of course, I'm supporting the Labour candidates everywhere, but it would be churlish of me to deny others the pleasure of looking at me. I wouldn't mind betting that lovely George Osborne's got a picture of me on his leaflets too."

Jonathan Isaby