Adonis Diaries

Sadiq Khan is the new Mayor of London: 5 reasons he is a big deal

Posted on: May 8, 2016

Sadiq Khan is the new Mayor of London

Fear does not make us safer – it only makes us weaker. And the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.”

London has elected its first Muslim mayor, with Sadiq Khan delivering a resounding victory for Labour and ending eight years of Conservative rule at City Hall.

As the results were finally announced well after midnight on Saturday morning, Mr Khan said: “This election has not been without controversy. I am so proud that London has chosen hope over fear and unity over division. I hope we will never be offered such a stark choice again.”

Mr Khan lead his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith by a total of 315,529 votes when the second preference votes were counted and reallocated.

Khan received 1,310,143 votes, higher than for any previous London Mayor. This amounted to 57 per cent of the total final votes to Mr Goldsmith’s 43 per cent (994,614 votes). Turnout was 45.6 per cent, up from 38 per cent in 2012.

sadiq-khan-ap.jpg

A tired Sadiq Khan speaks at City Hall after being confirmed as the new London Mayor – with Paul Golding, to his left, turning his back (AP)

Mr Khan capped an assured campaign with a convincing triumph, while Goldsmith faced a growing backlash over a campaign which critics described as “divisive” and dependent on “dog whistle” politics.

Mr Khan said that he was “deeply humbled” by the trust that voters had put in him. He also paid tribute to his mother, and his late father, saying: “My dad would be so proud that the city he chose to call home has chosen one of his children to be Mayor.”

independent.co.uk. Charlie Cooper Whitehall Correspondent

Referring to the often contentious campaign, Mr Khan said: “Fear does not make us safer – it only makes us weaker. And the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.”

Mr Goldsmith’s campaign faced criticism for focusing on attempts to link Mr Khan to Islamist extremists, with whom he had in the past shared platforms or represented during his work as a lawyer. The campaign was also criticised for sending letters to voters targeted according to their ethnic group.

At the announcement, Mr Goldsmith paid tribute to Mr Khan, and said: “I wish him well as he sets out to build on the successes that we’ve seen under Boris Johnson and to take it even further.”

As the outcome of the race became clear, senior Conservatives joined the backlash against the Goldsmith campaign.

Sayeeda Warsi, the former party chairman and the first Muslim woman to attend Cabinet said the “appalling dog whistle campaign” had “lost us the election, our reputation and credibility on issues of race and religion”.

Lady Warsi, the former Conservative party chairman, described it as “appalling”.

Recriminations even extended even to Mr Goldsmith’s own family, with sister Jemima, a journalist and campaigner, tweeting that she was “sad” her brother’s campaign “did not reflect who I know him to be – an eco-friendly, independent minded politician with integrity”.

Steven Norris, a former MP and mayoral candidate, insisted it was “no use having a dog whistle when everybody can hear it”.

And Andrew Boff, Conservative group leader on the Greater London assembly, said: “It was ridiculous… I do believe it’s going to affect Conservatives at the sharp end, especially in those parts of London where there is a high Muslim population. I mentioned that I thought this was a mistake for future integration in London. If you are a London politician this is just a bizarre thing to do.”

Former minister and Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said voters had reacted against a campaign that he called “divisive” and “laden with smear”.

“Right across London, black, white and brown have gone out and voted for unity,” he told The Independent. “This is the first time an ethnic minority politician has been given a mandate from millions of people,” he added.

“It’s an extraordinary moment, one we can all delight in whatever our political party… Right across the world they will be talking about this election result. It’s a global moment.”

New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his congratulations to Mr Khan, calling him a “fellow affordable housing advocate” and said he was looking forward to working with his new counterpart.

The win represents a major boost for Labour, which had suffered the humiliation of slipping to third place in Scotland, once a stronghold for the party.

But Mr Khan, a former human rights lawyer, has distanced himself from Corbyn throughout his campaign, particularly over the party leadership’s handling of allegations of anti-semitism within Labour ranks. (Great position: Corbyn bowed down to the Zionist lobby by dismissing historical documents of the linkage of Hitler with Zionism cooperation for the Jews to be transferred to Palestine)

In Wales, Labour lost control of the Welsh Assembly after the totemic seat of Rhondda fell to the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

But in English council elections, the party faired less badly than many pundits had expected – losing only 25 seats of the 1,200 it was defending.

The party also retained control of key councils such as Crawley, Southampton, Norwich and Hastings, where its vote had looked vulnerable.

But critics of Mr Corbyn pointed out that such a result was still nowhere near good enough to win a General Election, while the Labour leader himself admitted that they had “hung on”.

“I don’t think that the public see the UK Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn at the moment as being a credible party of future government in 2020,” Ian Murray Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary admitted

Among the other highlights from the day’s results:

  • The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson secured a seat at Holyrood on the first past the post part of the election by winning Edinburgh Central from the SNP. But the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was left relying on the top-up system for a seat as she failed to take Edinburgh Eastern.
  • The Liberal Democrats also made a small resurgence north of the border with their leader Willie Rennie returning to Holyrood in North East Fife, while the party also took Edinburgh Western from the SNP and held on to the Orkney and Shetland islands. The Lib Dems also made modest gains in local council elections.
  • With results in from 115 out of 124 councils declared, Labour was down by 25 seats, Ukip up 26, the Conservatives down 33 and Lib Dems up 36.
  • Labour lost control of Dudley council in the West Midlands, but held on to major cities including Birmingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland, as well as key southern outposts like Exeter, Southampton, Crawley and Slough.

Here are five reasons why London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan is kinda a big deal.

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