Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease
Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to an announcement made by his family. Livingstone, who served as the mayor of London and as an MP for Brent, is now retired and living a private life. He will no longer be available for media interviews or requests, and his family will not be responding to any media questions or enquiries. Livingstone’s family asks for understanding and respect for their privacy during this challenging time.
A Political Force in London
Ken Livingstone, now 78 years old, was a prominent figure in London politics for more than four decades. Known for his uncompromising left-wing views, he was a thorn in the sides of both Margaret Thatcher’s Tories and New Labour under Sir Tony Blair. Livingstone led the Greater London Council until its abolition by Thatcher in 1986 and served as the MP for Brent East for 14 years.
Challenging the Status Quo
In 2000, when the position of mayor of London was created, Livingstone ran as an independent candidate challenging Labour from the left. His victory in this race was a humiliation for Blairite Cabinet minister Frank Dobson, who had beaten Livingstone to the Labour nomination. In his second term, which he won as the official Labour candidate, Livingstone earned praise for his strong leadership and commitment to London, particularly in the wake of the July 2005 suicide bombings and in securing the 2012 Olympic Games for the capital.
A Controversial Figure
Livingstone lost City Hall in 2008 when he was defeated by Boris Johnson. In his failed bid to return to office in 2012, Livingstone’s electoral ambitions came to an end. He was a vocal and early supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, demanding purges of MPs he deemed disloyal. However, Livingstone became embroiled in a string of allegations of antisemitism, which ultimately led to his resignation from the Labour Party in 2018.
One of the most significant controversies surrounding Livingstone was his claims that Adolf Hitler had backed Zionism in the 1930s. These comments resulted in his suspension from the Labour Party in 2016. A 2020 report by a human rights watchdog found that Livingstone had made comments that “had the effect of stirring up and fueling hatred for Jews,” leading to further backlash. Recently, it was reported that Livingstone withdrew a legal challenge to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report.
A Difficult Diagnosis
Livingstone’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is undoubtedly a difficult and challenging development for him and his family. Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a significant cause of dementia, and there is currently no cure for the disease. Livingstone is being well cared for by his family and friends as they navigate this new chapter.
Ken Livingstone’s contribution to London politics and his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease mark important milestones in his life. As a key figure in London governance, Livingstone’s impact on the city cannot be underestimated. While his political career was not without controversy, his achievements and commitment to London will not be forgotten. As Livingstone faces the challenges of living with Alzheimer’s, it is important to respect his privacy and to support those affected by this devastating disease.