(JTA)— British Jews increasingly support the country’s Conservative Party because they are richer than they used to be, the former mayor of London said.
Ken Livingstone made the comment Monday on the BBC’s Newsnight program, during a discussion about how ethnic minorities vote.
He said that income, not minority status, determined a person’s voting preference.
“As the Jewish community got richer it moved over to voting for Mrs. Thatcher, as they did in Finchley,” he said, referring to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s representation of the Conservative Party in the strongly Jewish district.
Adrian Cohen, chairman of the London Jewish Forum, criticized Livingstone in a statement to reporters: “It’s pretty obvious that politicians shouldn’t write off parts of the electorate based on crude assumptions about their perceived relative affluence.”
“Many Jews are not rich; indeed many struggle to make ends meet. In any event, there are many factors which influence how a person chooses to vote, and one shouldn’t refer to Jewish Londoners as if they were homogeneous,” he added.
Livingstone made a similar comment while running for mayor of London in 2012. He lost the race to incumbent Boris Johnson, who had succeeded him in the post.