Labour MP Sadiq Khan elected Mayor of London


Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP for Tooting, has won the race to become the Mayor of London with a comfortable victory over Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith.

Over 1.3 million Londoners voted for Mr Khan, Communities Minister in the last Labour government, giving him 57 per cent of the vote.

Mr Goldsmith secured 43 per cent, with just under 995,000 people backing him.

In his victory speech Mr Khan said he was “deeply humbled by the hope and trust” voters placed in him, adding: “I want to thank every single Londoner for making the impossible possible".

He added: “I’m so proud that Londoners have today chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”

The result was delayed until after midnight due to what was described as a serious error in counting the second preference votes.

Anticipating Mr Khan's success, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had tweeted: "Congratulations Sadiq Khan. Can't wait to work with you to create a London that is fair for all!#YesWeKhan"

Former leader Ed Miliband tweeted: "You will be an outstanding Mayor of London. Your positive vision & dignity beat a campaign of fear and division."

Mr Khan, a former human rights lawyer, will be the capital’s first Muslim mayor. He succeeds Boris Johnson at City Hall.

The 44-year-old, the son of a Pakistani bus driver who grew up on a London council estate, thanked supporters for their votes earlier in the day, tweeting: "A huge thank you to everyone who voted Labour, volunteered today or campaigned with us."

Despite a strong campaign, Mr Khan was affected by the antisemitism crisis in the Labour party.

His party lost key votes in Jewish areas across England and Scotland. The loss of Labour votes among Jewish communities in Glasgow, Manchester and London’s borough of Barnet in north-west London, was explained by antisemitism crisis that engulfed the party in recent weeks.

At least 20 members of the party – including Ken Livingstone, the former London Mayor, and Bradford West MP Naz Shah – were suspended amid allegations of antisemitism and racism.

Mr Livingstone – who was suspended last week after claiming that Hitler supported Zionism – admitted that he made Mr Khan’s election harder as a result of his comments.

In a BBC Two interview on Friday afternoon, he said: “Sadiq was running 16 per cent ahead in the polls before that antisemitism nonsense. Nationally we were 5 per cent ahead of the Tories.

“So I think it has definitely been damaging.”

However, he went onto accuse the media and “Blairite” MPs of distorting his comments. He said: “I would say to those Labour MPs making it a great issue, demanding my suspension, you have cost us seats all over the country.”

Mr Khan condemned the comments made by Mr Livingstone, describing them as: “appalling and inexcusable”. Senior figures - including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, MPs John Mann and Wes Streeting – had said Mr Livingstone’s comments had a negative impact on the party’s votes.

The election of Mr Khan to City Hall was welcomed by Mike Katz, vice-chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

He said: "During his campaign, Sadiq pledged to be a mayor for all Londoners and this certainly includes the Jewish community. He's done a a tremendous job reaching out to the Jewish community and showing real leadership over the problem of antisemitism in the Party.

"JLM was proud to campaign for him - he'll be a real champion for Jewish Londoners. I'm looking forward to London's first Muslim Mayor celebrating Chanukah in the Square with us!"

In interviews with the JC during the campaign, Mr Khan said he would support inter-faith initiatives, Jewish schools and security measures for the community. He has also said he would fight anti-Israel boycott initiatives and look to build ties between London and Tel Aviv.

Mr Khan admitted he changed his position on Israel boycotts after the JC revealed that Mr Khan had repeatedly called on ministers to impose sanctions in 2009.

He told the JC afterwards: “The evidence clearly shows that boycott, sanctions and divestment against Israel do not help us achieve peace – we must not turn our face against Israel.

“As the boycotts of Sodastream International showed, boycotts only hurt working people and do nothing to build a lasting peace in the region.”

“I’m going to be the mayor of the entire city. It’s really important that you know I’ll be on your side when it comes to the challenges the Jewish community will face. I am my own person, my own man.”

As Communities Minister during Gordon Brown’s premiership, Mr Khan worked with the Board of Deputies and other communal groups, particularly on interfaith projects. His own Muslim faith had aided his efforts to understand Jewish ways of life, he explained.

“We have a huge amount in common. We need to see the great work in the past that the Board of Deputies and Muslim Council of Britain have done together on halal and kosher food and male circumcision. I’m optimistic about the future.”

Three times last summer Mr Khan began his Ramadan fast at synagogues, discussing with rabbis ways to make London a beacon for interfaith efforts. He has also cited his past work with Mitzvah Day, former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Jewish Labour peer Lord Mitchell.

He said: “There’s so much we can do together, that’s why I’m excited about this job. Just imagine the message it would send to other parts of the world where communities don’t get on. I’m completely comfortable in a synagogue, you’re perfectly comfortable with me, even though we’re of different faiths.

“What’s important to me is that we have zero tolerance of antisemitism. I will ensure there are sufficient police resources and the resources of City Hall to address this issue.

“One of the things that has impressed me with the Community Security Trust is that they are now helping Muslim communities address Islamophobia. Many of the challenges the Jewish community have been through over the centuries, now London’s Muslim community are facing.”

Visits to the Nightingale House Jewish residential home in the MP’s Tooting constituency in south-west London have added to Mr Khan’s understanding of the immigrant background stories that Muslims and Jews share.

He said: “My daughters grew up in an environment where Jewish friends come to our house and fast during Ramadan. We should celebrate that.”

During the election, Conservative rival Mr Goldsmith, whose grandfather Frank was Jewish, was accused of running a divisive campaign against Mr Khan after it emerged that the newly elected London Mayor had shared platforms with alleged radical clerics.

As a lawyer, Mr Khan defended Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan, who once called Hitler a “great man”.

Mr Khan told the JC in February: “I have never hidden the fact that I used to be a human rights lawyer. I have acted for people who are alleged of committing acts of terror. I think it is unfair to assume the cases I did as a lawyer – particularly in relation to characters who are unsavoury – are representative of the views I’ve got.

“I have never hidden the fact that I was chair of Liberty. I have never hidden the fact that I campaigned for Babar Ahmed against the US-UK extradition treaty.”

He added: “We have to accept that there are some Londoners who do not subscribe to our way of life – who want to damage and divide communities. We have got to make sure we tackle that.”

Meanwhile, suggestions that the Tory party would mount a legal challenge to the election outcome after hundreds of people were turned away from polling stations in Barnet on Thursday have been dimissed.

Many voters were turned away from 155 polling stations as a result of what was described as administrative errors.

Some residents of the area, which has the highest proportion of Jews in any borough in England at 15 per cent, were unable to return to cast their vote when the issues were resolved. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his wife Valerie were turned away at around 8:30am on Thursday morning. A spokesman said they were “disappointed” they lost their chance to vote as they had to travel to Holland to visit the local Jewish communities and could not return to the polling station.

A Barnet spokesperson confirmed that an investigation into the error had been launched. She would not comment on how many people had returned to the Barnet polling stations to cast their vote after being turned away, or how many had chosen to vote by emergency proxy.

On Friday afternoon, Labour’s Andrew Dismore was re-elected to represent Barnet and Camden on the Greater London Assembly.

He won with 44 per cent of the vote (81,482); Tory candidate Daniel Thomas came second with 36 per cent (65,204).

Greens' Stephen Taylor came in third place with 16,996 votes, Liberal Democrats' Zac Polanski received 11,204 votes while Joseph Langton, for Ukip, came in final place with 9,057 votes.

Mr Dismore, who served as Hendon MP for 13 years before losing at the last general election to Conservative Matthew Offord, earlier took to Twitter to thank “all the brilliant Labour activists in Barnet and Camden.

“Thanks for all your hard work and effort”.

He pledged to combat antisemitism in Labour, saying: "I am very grateful to the voters of Barnet and Camden and especially my Jewish constituents, who stood by me, despite the antisemitism issue.

"I'll stand by you in the future as I have in the past, and will redouble my efforts against antisemitism in the party."

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