Sadiq Khan warns of risk to London from Tory ‘hard right’ politicians

Sadiq Khan warns of risk to London from Tory ‘hard right’ politicians

Sadiq Khan has again insisted that the unfolding mayoral election campaign will be “the toughest contest of my political life” and warned that “never in the history of the London mayoralty have the risks to our city been so great”.

During a 13-minute speech to the conference of London’s Labour region at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in Tower Hamlets, the Mayor also lambasted Rishi Sunak for a “complete failure” to condemn recent false claims about him by former Conservative chairman Lee Anderson and referred to Susan Hall, his Tory challenger for City Hall, as “the most divisive, hard right candidate” her party has yet put up for Mayor.

Reminding his audience that in 2016, when he first ran for Mayor, the Conservatives had waged what he called “a disgraceful campaign against me and against us”, he urged Labour members to resist a repeat of those tactics, saying: “As the poison of antisemitism and the poison of Islamophobia continues to infect our politics, now more than ever we need to display our best values rather than our worst fears.”

During the 2106 contest, the unsuccessful Conservative campaign of Zac Goldsmith focused negatively on Khan’s Muslim faith, drawing widespread criticism, including from some London Tories. Nottinghamshire MP Anderson, speaking on the radical Right television channel GB News, mendaciously said that “Islamists” had “got control” of Khan and of London because Khan had “given away our capital city to his mates”.

Khan, who has a long track record of supporting London’s Jewish communities and other groups who face prejudice, said in his speech that a “concerted and growing attempt by some” is underway to “degrade and humiliate minorities for political and electoral gain”. Anderson has been suspended by his party, but reportedly received a standing ovation from Tory members at a subsequent social function. Khan said Hall, who has yet to speak out against Anderson’s comments, has revealed values “in direct opposition to the ones we hold dearest”.

Khan urged his audience to be sceptical about opinion polls giving him commanding leads over Hall, recalling similar findings in the run-up to the last mayoral election in 2021 when the result was much closer that polls had indicated, and he accused the Tories of unfairly changing the voting system from the traditional supplementary vote arrangements, which gave Londoners and first and second preference choice, to first past the post, which could assist the Tory candidate.

“On May the second supporters of the Lib Dems, supporters of the Greens and other progressive parties won’t have the luxury of an insurance policy anymore,” he said, arguing that this made the contest between himself and Hall. Khan also claimed that the government’s introduction of a Voter ID requirement could affect 900,000 Londoners and cost Labour five per cent of its ballot box support.

Khan talked up his record over his two terms, saying he is standing “proudly” on it and highlighting his imminent latest freeze of Transport for London public transport fares, his funding for free school meals for all primary school children not previously eligible, his record on housing, and other things he would like to achieve in that policy area.

“My ambition is for London to be a city where social housing is first rate, not last resort, where all renters have security and none of them is forced to sleep on the streets and where everyone has a fair shot at owning their own home,” he said.

He also anticipated the possibility being a re-elected Labour Mayor and Labour forming a national government in the near future, stressing that such a partnership has occurred for four years out of the 24 since the mayoralty was created at the start of this century, with results that included winning the contest to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Speaking before Khan, the party’s regional regional director Pearleen Sangha anticipated the Mayor’s concern about complacency, making the same point about opinion poll leads being deceptive, imploring attendees to be “on the campaign trail day in, day out,” and telling attendees “we must expose this Conservative Party for what they are” and, after commiserating with Khan over the false claims made about him the previous weekend, received sustained applause for assuring him that “we are with you”.

In a sign that Labour is hoping to increase its representation on the London Assembly as well as securing victory for Khan, the conference was also addressed by Westminster councillor James Small Edwards, who will be contesting the marginal West Central London Assembly seat, covering the boroughs of Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea.

After mocking Hall over her seemingly mistaken allegation that she had fallen victim to a pickpocket on the London Underground, he told the conference: “We cannot let the Tories do to London what they have done to our country.”

Dave Hill is editor and publisher of Support the site and its writers for £5 a month or £50 a year and get things for your money too. Details HERE. Photo: Bond Street Elizabeth line station.

Categories: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *