March 20, 2018

Labour’s Sadiq Khan promises a ‘better’ London


Referring to his council estate roots, Mr Khan, the city’s first Muslim mayor, said he wanted all Londoners to have the same opportunities he has had.
It comes as Defence Secretary Michael Fallon defended Conservative Zac Goldsmith’s campaign, describing it as the “rough and tumble” of politics.
The much-criticised campaign questioned Mr Khan’s alleged links to extremists.
Mr Khan beat Mr Goldsmith, by 1,310,143 votes to 994,614, giving him a larger personal mandate than either of his predecessors, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone.
He has announced he will step down as MP for Tooting, meaning a by-election will be held to elect a new representative in Parliament.
The former Labour minister’s victory in London ends eight years of Conservative control of City Hall.
It has also given a boost to Labour after its poor performance in Scotland’s election which saw it slump to third place behind the Conservatives.
Following on from its London success, Labour has also won Bristol’s mayoral contest, with candidate Marvin Rees beating the incumbent, independent George Ferguson, by a comfortable margin.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed Mr Rees’ victory, saying in a tweet: “Another Labour mayor who will stand up for their city!”
But Mr Corbyn was absent from Mr Khan’s swearing-in ceremony earlier on Saturday.
Mr Khan – who nominated but did not vote for Mr Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest – said he was “not sure” why, adding: “We’ll have to find out what he was doing.”
There is no specific form on these type of things, but this mayoral election was Labour’s biggest success in these recent elections, so it is pretty unusual that Corbyn was not at Mr Khan’s signing-in ceremony.
And by contrast we are expecting Mr Corbyn to attend an event to celebrate the election of the Labour candidate, who has just won the role of Bristol mayor.
Read into that what you will, but I think it raises questions about how Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn will work together.
‘Burning ambition’
As he swore in as London mayor in a ceremony in Southwark Cathedral, Mr Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants, said: “I’m only here today because of the opportunities and helping hand that our city gave to me and my family.
“My burning ambition for our city, that will guide my mayoralty, is to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunities that my city gave to me.”
‘Rough and tumble’
Speaking later, Mr Khan said he was disappointed by the “negative and divisive” nature of Mr Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign, which focused on Mr Khan’s alleged links to Islamic extremists. But his victory, he said, was a rejection of the politics of “fear”.
Several senior Conservatives – including former cabinet ministers Ken Clarke and Baroness Warsi – have,  like Labour, voiced criticism of the way the contest was fought, while Mr Goldsmith’s sister Jemima said it “did not reflect who I know him to be”.

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