UK Politics

Ken Livingstone rules out joining the House of Lords

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Media captionKen Livingstone: We are at a "turning point" in politics.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has ruled out becoming a member of the House of Lords, saying he has "been punished enough".

Mr Livingstone was defeated by Conservative Boris Johnson in last week's mayoral election.

Asked on the BBC's Today programme whether he would return to politics as a lord, he said: "Oh God no."

The Labour candidate also warned leader Ed Miliband that "Blairites" in the shadow cabinet were "holding us back".

Mr Livingstone was mayor of London from 2000-2008, when he was first defeated by Mr Johnson. Having again lost to his Tory rival last week, the former mayor said he would stand by the commitment given in his losing speech not to fight another election.

"For the first time in my life I've got a week without any meetings planned. It's quite remarkable," he said.

He said Ed Miliband - who he described as a friend - would "transform Britain" but should distance himself from members of the shadow cabinet who "who hold us back".

"If I have one criticism of Ed Miliband... he's far too concerned about carrying the discredited old Blairite wing with him who bought into all this centre-right nonsense."

Mr Livingstone, who was effectively prevented by Tony Blair from standing as Labour's candidate for mayor in 2000, added: "A lot of the disillusionment of working class people - irrespective of their colour- is that the last Labour government didn't create good jobs for working class people."

But he said Labour's strong performance in the London Assembly elections vindicated the new leader's economic strategy.

Labour achieved 41.1% of the London-wide vote last Thursday, compared with Mr Livingstone's 40.3%.

Putting the disparity between his personal vote and his party's vote down to the "personality contest" between him and Mr Johnson, Mr Livingstone said: "The media was overwhelmingly on the side of Boris Johnson. They've given him pretty much a free ride in the previous four years."

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