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Ken's Mladic comment upsets Bromley's MPs

PUBLISHED: 09:50 10 June 2011 | UPDATED: 10:27 10 June 2011

His visit to Bromley last week caused much controversy

His visit to Bromley last week caused much controversy

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»Bromley's MPs have been left "disgusted" after Ken Livingstone compared Boris Johnson's new chief of staff to a man accused of genocide.

The Labour mayoral hopeful described Eddie Lister, the former leader of Wandsworth council, as “the beast of Wandsworth” and “the Ratko Mladic of local government”, at a public meeting at the Crooked Billet pub in Penge High Street last Wednesday.

Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military leader, is currently at the United Nation’s war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands, accused of genocide and other crimes against humanity, including the massacre of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys from the town of Srebrenica in 1995.

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart, who was UN Commander in Bosnia, and led British troops into Srebrenica two years before the massacre, said: “They are rather pathetic remarks by Livingstone, particularly for me as I saw what Mladic did.

“My wife, who worked in the International Committee of the Red Cross, persuaded Mladic in 1992 to show them where a prisoner-of-war camp was so they could register the prisoners in a bid to stop them disappearing. But she first had to force him to disarm before entering a Red Cross vehicle.”

‘Insult’

Orpington MP Jo Johnson said: “Even by Ken’s standards, it’s an appalling remark and an insult to the victims of genocide. It shows a complete lack of perspective and a divisive approach to politics understandably rejected by Londoners.”

A spokesman for Ken Livingstone said: “Ken’s phrasing is always colourful but as ever he is standing up for parents who face charges for their children to use playgrounds and for millions of Londoners losing police from their streets and paying higher fares because of Boris Johnson’s Conservative policies.”

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