Labour's candidate for Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has been exposed in the Evening Standard as being in the pay of the Iranian regime.
He has been paid thousands of pounds for presenting seven shows on Press TV – an English language channel owned by the Iranian state.
Human rights campaigners have condemned his involvement.
While the Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham, Greg Hands, said:
“This shows a lack of judgment on the part of Ken Livingstone, to be working for Iranian state television at a time when press and other democratic freedoms in Iran have been completely destroyed by the regime there, and at a time when Londoners will want to know if he will ever return to the political mainstream.”
To be fair to Ed Miliband he probably doesn't approve of such conduct by Livingstone. The difficulty is that Miliband is too weak a leader to do anything about it.
As a leader (£) in The Times this morning says:
Press TV is not a normal news organisation. It is the propaganda arm of a repressive, bellicose and ferociously anti-Semitic regime. It promotes the duplicitous official line of the mullahs on Tehran’s
nuclear programme. It rubbishes the pro-democracy movement that emerged after Iran’s rigged presidential elections in 2009. The station operates from the UK, where it rightly enjoys the freedom of the press. Foreign journalists have no such right to investigate and report events in Iran.
Mr Livingstone has already been selected to stand. But Labour’s leading figures, notably Ed Miliband, should instruct him to cut his links with Press TV now. If he fails to do so, they should scrupulously refrain from campaigning for him.
More from Andrew Gilligan here.