Ken Livingstone: 'It's The Muslims' Turn To Be Discriminated Against'

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Ken Livingstone accused right-wing politicians of pandering to bigotry | PA

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

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.

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"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."

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.

Livingstone was speaking at a mayoral hustings hosted by gay rights campaign group Stonewall alongside his rival candidates Lib Dem Brian Paddick, Green Jenny Jones and Johnson.

Johnson defended the fact that his manifesto made no specific mention of what he would do to address the concerns of gay people, but after being pressed on the issue he announced he would publish one before the May 3 election.

The Mayor also said City Hall would rejoin Stonewall Employer's Index, having withdrawn from it because of the cost. Johnson pledged on the spot to rejoin the list that ranks how gay friendly workplaces are after being told it was free and did not cost £2,000 as he had claimed.