Sadiq Khan, a Muslim Labour Party lawmaker, has been elected London’s mayor following a campaign marred by charges of anti-Semitism and extremism.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (ITN / UK POOL) – Sadiq Khan became London’s first Muslim mayor as official results were announced in the early hours of Saturday (May 7), seeing off a Conservative challenger who attempted to link him to extremism and securing a much-needed victory for his opposition Labour Party.
As New York mayor Bill de Blasio sent his congratulations, Khan had yet to receive official notification of his victory, which would go some way to soothing the wounds of Labour which suffered losses in Thursday’s (May 5) other local elections.
Dealt a crushing blow in Scotland, where it came third behind the Scottish National Party and Britain’s ruling Conservatives, Labour did better than expected in England, saving its left-leaning leader from an early challenge.
But the big prize was the London mayor vote, 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.
“Thank you London. London is the greatest city in the world, I’m so proud of our city. I’m deeply humbled by the hope and trust you’ve placed in me today. I grew up in a council estate, just a few miles from here. Back then, I never dreamt that someone like me could be elected as mayor of London. I want to say thank you to every single Londoner for making the impossible possible today,” Khan said after he was announced the victor.
The Labour lawmaker replaces Conservative Boris Johnson, who has run 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.