Labour Shadow Cabinet minister Michael Dugher has condemned Ken Livingstone for his comments on the London 7/7 bombers, calling on the Jeremy Corbyn ally to “stop the moral equivalence bullshit” by likening them to “martyrs for a cause”.
In an interview with The House magazine, the Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport labels the attackers “sick maniacs” and calls on Labour’s governing National Executive Committee to consider sacking the former London mayor as the co-chair of the party’s defence policy review.
The Yorkshire MP adds: “If you find yourself in disagreement with Ken Livingstone, there’s a reasonable chance you are where most people in the country are.”
On BBC's Question Time last month, Mr Livingstone highlighted the 7/7 bombings as a reason why the UK should not get involved in airstrikes in Syria and claimed terrorists "gave their lives" and "took Londoners’ lives in protest against our invasion of Iraq".
The ex-MP is a major supporter of Mr Corbyn and will play a key role over deciding whether Labour opposes renewing the Trident nuclear missile.
Mr Dugher said: "Every time (Mr Livingstone) opens his mouth he manages to offend large numbers of people, so maybe he should just open his mouth a little less.
“Ian Murray, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, received an email from someone who lost their fiancé in the 7/7 attacks and she switches on the telly and sees Ken Livingstone likening the 7/7 terrorists to martyrs for a cause and blaming western foreign policy. What do you think she thinks of the Labour party now? Do you think we can ever get that vote back?
“These were sick maniacs who need to be taken on and beaten for what they are. Stop the justifications, stop the moral equivalence bullshit and see them for what they are. These are people who want to destroy our way of life by causing murder and mayhem on the streets of the UK. They are our enemy and we have to treat them as such.”
On Mr Livingstone and Labour’s defence policy review, he said: "My view, and it’s the view of many others, is I don’t know how he can do it. In fairness, this is a decision of the National Executive.
"I would hope they would reflect on their decision given recent statements by Ken Livingstone. It’s fair to say I’ve never really agreed with much of what Ken Livingston has said. I’ve always found that’s something that’s given me enormous hope.
"If you find yourself in disagreement with Ken Livingstone, there’s a reasonable chance you are where most people in the country are.
In the interview, he also says the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group Momentum’s “aggression is matched only by their stupidity” and argues claims made by anti-war campaigners, including Mr Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, that innocent Syrians will inevitable die as a result of the RAF’s bombing raids are “utterly unfair and wrong”.