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UK High Court quashes London mayor suspension for offensive comment

[JURIST] Britain's High Court [official website] Thursday quashed the four-week suspension of London Mayor Ken Livingstone [official profile], originally handed down by the Adjudication Panel for England [official website] in February. The suspension was ordered [ruling text, PDF] after Livingstone made controversial comments to a Jewish journalist. A High Court judge overturned the suspension, but did not make an immediate decision on whether the Adjudication Panel correctly concluded that Livingstone breached the Greater London Authority's Code of Conduct. Livingstone's lawyers argued that the comments were made outside the scope of his employment as mayor while an Ethical Standards Officer argued that the mayor's arguments trivialized the code of conduct.

The incident occurred when Livingstone, leaving a private party, responded to reporter Oliver Finegold's questions by telling him he was "like a concentration camp guard - you are just doing it because you are paid to." Livingstone later defended his comments [JURIST report] as referencing not the journalist himself, but his employer, the Evening Standard, a tabloid paper that supported the Nazis in early 1930s. BBC News has more.

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