By JR on Sunday, April 15, 2012
"Red" Ken Livingstone was the far-Left Mayor of London until he was defeated in the last (2008) election by the Conservative Boris Johnson. Ken is trying to get his job back at the next election. He was recently filmed crying while watching one of his own TV commercials. He said he was crying about how much London would lose if he was not re-elected
Ken Livingstone was accused by his own party of crying 'crocodile tears' after it emerged that a political broadcast that made him weep used paid 'supporters’ reading from a script.
The Labour mayoral candidate wept at a screening of his advert featuring 28 unnamed Londoners spelling out why the capital needed Mr Livingstone back in charge.
He had described the saccharine production as a 'real tearjerker'. Labour leader Ed Miliband even patted his shoulder to console the former mayor as he rubbed his eyes during the screening on Wednesday.
In reality, Mr Livingstone had seen the film the night before, raising questions about why he was apparently caught off-guard. Last night Labour admitted that the 'ordinary Londoners' had actually been reading from a script.
They were also paid expenses for their time after the advertising agency BETC hired people from the street. It is also believed one of the 'actors’ is a paid-up member of the Labour Party.
While political parties regularly use scripts for their advertisements, Labour supporters rebuked Mr Livingstone for apparently pretending to cry.
The grassroots website Labour Uncut concluded that either Mr Livingstone's tears were fake or 'he was moved to tears listening to sweet words of flattery that he had practically written himself'.
Labour Uncut's associate editor, Atul Hatwal, added: 'Whether it's tax avoidance, relations with the Jewish community or crocodile tears, this election has virtually become a referendum on Ken Livingstone. 'There's no space in the debate for policies or issues, just the one, overweening flawed personality.'
A spokesman for Mr Livingstone said those appearing in the 'party political broadcast are ordinary Londoners who are backing Ken on May 3'. He added: 'No actors were used in the broadcast.' The campaign team confirmed that those who took part were recruited by the advertising agency and paid expenses.
The 66-year-old's bid to win back the London mayoralty from Tory Boris Johnson has so far been buffeted by controversy. Mr Livingstone was plunged into a race row after saying 'rich Jews' would not vote for him.
The former MP was also damaged by revelations that he paid himself through a limited company, potentially reducing the tax on his income.
Research for Taxation Magazine by experts TolleyGuidance suggested Mr Livingstone paid nearly £78,000 less tax during the three years to June 2011 by putting his income through a private firm.