Sadiq Khan begins first full day as mayor of London after a landslide victory. Far right candidate, Paul Golding, turned his back on Khan as he gave his victory speech after becoming the first Muslim to head a major Western capital.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 7, 2016) (UK POOL) – London’s newly elected mayor Sadiq Khan began his first full day in charge of city hall on Saturday (May 7), hours after winning a landslide victory that ended eight years of Conservative control of City Hall.
Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, made history in becoming London’s first Muslim mayor, seeing off a Conservative challenger who attempted to link him to extremism and securing a much-needed win for his opposition Labour Party.
The bitterly contested London mayoral campaign, which pitted Khan, 45, who grew up in public housing in inner city London, against Conservative Zac Goldsmith, 41, the son of a billionaire financier, was finally settled shortly after midnight.
Khan’s 13.6 percent margin of victory over Goldsmith was the widest in a London mayoral election in 16 years, showing that a bitter campaign marred by accusations that the former human rights lawyer had links to extremists and charges of anti-Semitism within Labour ranks had failed to deter his voters.
As Khan walked to the podium to make his victory speech, far right candidate Paul Golding turned his back in an apparent act of defiance that provoked derision on social media with twitter users slamming Golding as “pathetic” and a “sore-bigot loser.”
Golding’s Britain First polled just over one percent of the vote.
“This election was not without controversy and I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division,” Khan said in a short speech after the results.
“I hope that we will never be offered such a stark choice again. Fear does not make us safer, it only makes us weaker and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city,” he added as Labour supporters applauded.
The Labour lawmaker replaces Conservative Boris Johnson, who ran the city of 8.6 million people for eight years. A top campaigner for Britain to leave the EU, Johnson is seen as a contender to succeed David Cameron as party leader and prime minister.
The Conservatives were keen to keep hold of the post, which does not run the City of London financial district but has influence over government in lobbying for the capital. The mayor is responsible for areas such as policing, transport, housing and the environment.