Mayor refers Evening Standard to Commission for Racial Equality

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, has asked the Commission for Racial Equality to investigate the London Evening Standard’s website which Mr Livingstone says has been “pouring out religious intolerance and hatred”.

In a letter to Beverley Bernard, the Acting Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, the Mayor wrote:

“As Mayor it is my responsibility to encourage good community relations and religious and racial tolerance.  It is counterproductive and unacceptable that immediately following the terrorist outrage in Bali, the Standard’s website has been pouring out religious intolerance and hatred for days, under the guise of discussion.”

The Evening Standard’s website carried a lengthy debate following the Bali bombings. In his letter, the Mayor drew the CRE’s attention to particular comments on the website made during this debate, posted between 13th and 16th October, and still prominent on 17th October. Comments the mayor highlighted included:

“Hands up who would like to see, or would agree with, the rounding up of Muslims?”

“Who’d want to live next door to Muslims now?”

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t want any more Muslims in my country…. Vote them out of your country. Don’t do business with them.”

The mayor has copied his letter to the CRE to the Press Complaints Commission asking the PCC to investigate whether the Standard’s website breaches the PCC code of conduct.

GLA press release, 17 October 2002