Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone was target of UFF assassination attempt, new book claims
THE former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone was the subject of a failed assassination attempt by loyalists in 1993, it has been claimed.
The claim was made in a book, 'Left-Right-Loyalist', published by loyalist Frank Portinari, who previously headed the UDA in London.
The veteran Labour politician, who was suspended from the party last year after claiming Hitler supported Zionism, was targeted due to his republican sympathies, Portinari says.
The botched plan was the second such loyalist attempt on Mr Livingstone's life, after Michael Stone, the man responsible for the killings at Milltown Cemetery in 1988, alleged in a TV interview that he had tried to shoot the former London Mayor ten years earlier.
In remarks in his book, reported by The Daily Star, Portinari claims that the UFF hired a hitman to shoot the Labour politician during a Bloody Sunday protest in London in January 1993.
Crowds of loyalists, British National Party sympathisers and neo-Nazis had planned to attack the demonstration as it left Hyde Park, with the gunman set to shoot Mr Livingstone before escaping in the crowd.
Portinari wrote: "Livingstone's provocative support for Irish republican terrorists and their apologists made him public enemy number one.
"A UFF unit decided to assassinate Livingstone on the day of the march.
"It was felt that if the front of the march could be attacked by a large group it would create a great deal of confusion and give someone the opportunity to get close to Livingstone."
He added: "The confusion would help to facilitate the gunman's escape. The gunman and getaway driver were in place and the mob was waiting in Edgware Road ready to cause a huge diversion."
However, the plan failed when those participating in the Bloody Sunday protest refused to leave the park until the counter-demonstration had been dispersed.
Portinari wrote: "Our people were stopped, searched and served with a notice to disperse or expect to be arrested."
Portinari, a former school caretaker who became involved in loyalism following the IRA's bombing campaign in London, was sentenced to five years in jail in 1994 for smuggling guns in Birmingham to be used by loyalists in the north.