Ken Livingstone
Jeremy Corbyn wants the former Mayor of London to apologise for his remarks about shadow defence minister Kevan JonesGetty

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to intervene in a row between Ken Livingstone and one of his shadow ministers after the former Mayor of London described the depression sufferer as "disturbed".

Corbyn publicly urged his left-wing ally to apologise after his outburst against Kevan Jones. Livingstone launched the attack after Jones, the shadow defence minister, criticised Corbyn's decision to appoint the anti-Trident campaigner as the co-chair of Labour's defence policy review alongside Maria Eagle.

"I think he might need some psychiatric help. He's obviously very depressed and disturbed," Livingstone told The Mirror. "He should pop off and see his GP before he makes these offensive comments."

The left-winger was immediately criticised by Labour colleagues for the remarks. Jones was widely praised for speaking openly about his mental health issues in Parliament in 2012.

But despite being confronted about his comments, Livingstone refused to apologise. "He was rude about me, I was rude back – he needs to get over it," the 70-year-old told LBC Radio.

Labour issued a statement from Corbyn following Livingstone's radio appearance, calling for him to apologise. "Jeremy is incredibly concerned that people with mental health problems shouldn't be stigmatised," a spokesman for the Labour leader said. "He has worked with Kevan in the past on this issue and is impressed by his bravery in speaking out on his own mental health issues. Ken should apologise to him straight away."

According to the Telegraph, Jones said Livingstone's remarks were gravely offensive and Corbyn should consider sacking him from his role on the review. The row comes after Corbyn created the first dedicated mental health ministerial role by appointing Luciana Berger to the shadow position.

The Liverpool MP described Livingstone's comments as simply unacceptable. "An individual's mental health should never be the excuse for insults, jibes or political point-scoring," Berger said. "These comments should be treated as seriously as racism or sexism."

UPDATE

Livingstone has now issued the following apology on social media site Twitter.