Sadiq Khan: I will defeat Zac. The only question is how I do it

The Labour candidate is fighting the mayoral battle his way, but he’s still very much on the left

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

Sadiq Khan has long been known as one of Labour’s most pugnacious politicians: someone who likes to fight, and likes to win. The son of a bus driver, he became a human rights lawyer, entered parliament in 2005 and that same year was named newcomer of the year at The Spectator’s parliamentary awards.

He ran Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010 and led Labour’s fierce — and surprisingly effective —campaign in London last year. Now, his sights are set on reclaiming City Hall for Labour and persuading even those on the right that he is the natural heir to Boris Johnson.

‘I want Spectator readers to give me a second look,’ he says, when we meet in the House of Commons. He is not, he’s keen to stress, a lieutenant in Jeremy Corbyn’s army. He’s keen to ladle praise on Boris Johnson — a ‘great salesman for our city’ who made him feel ‘proud to be a Londoner’ during the Olympics. He even likes rich people. ‘I welcome the fact that we have got 140-plus billionaires in London; that’s a good thing. I welcome the fact that there are more than 400,000 millionaires; that’s a good thing.’ If you shut your eyes, it could be Peter Mandelson speaking. It is not what you would expect from someone who has always been on the soft left of Labour.

If elected mayor, he says, he would not attempt to taunt David Cameron’s government as Ken Livingstone once taunted Margaret Thatcher’s. ‘I’m not going to be somebody who puts a big banner up outside City Hall criticising the Prime Minister, he says. ‘As a Labour councillor for 12 years in Tory Wandsworth I saw the benefits of having to work with the Tories to get a good deal for my constituents.’

But this is all part of Khan’s ambitious strategy: he doesn’t just want to win, he wants to win big. He is confident about his own ability to run a campaign; to him the issue isn’t whether he’ll win — but how.

‘If we wanted to, we could just target those Labour voters and increase the turnout. We could win London just by doing that.’ But, he says, ‘That’s not the sort of mayor I want to be… I want to be everyone’s mayor.’ In particular, he wants to be that vanishingly rare thing: a Labour friend of business. ‘Bearing in mind who our leader is,’ he says, ‘it’s important to reassure the right people that he doesn’t represent all Labour thinking.’ Khan is clearly aware that his biggest vulnerability is being branded Corbyn’s candidate. He is eager to say he is not in regular contact with his party leader; the last time he saw him was when they had their photos taken together to promote the Living Wage more than a month ago.

But if Khan is so distant from Corbyn, why did he nominate him for the Labour leadership? To widen debate, he says. And he insists that he’s not to blame for Corbyn winning. Instead, he points the finger at the other candidates. To emphasise the point, he adds, ‘I’m sure if Andy, Yvette and Liz were here they would say they had a shocking summer.’

Khan would be the capital’s first Muslim mayor. And London, he says, is the one of best cities in the world in which to be a Muslim. He is adamant that he wouldn’t want his daughters to grow up anywhere else. ‘There are laws here to protect them being discriminated against. Laws here that allow me, if I want to, to do my ablutions and pray. I could wear black and grow a beard; if my wife chose to she could wear a hijab. I feel so strongly about this.’ He argues that ‘we should explain to people in Muslim majority countries that I am the West so when they think they hate the West they are hating me.’ But he thinks that government needs to do more to promote integration; that London can’t simply be allowed to develop naturally any more. ‘We’ve got to think a bit more about how we encourage, cajole people into integrating much more,’ he says.

Housing is, Khan believes, the ‘biggest crisis facing Londoners’. He fears that the capital is ‘being hollowed out’ and wants all new properties to have to be offered to Londoners before they can be sold to foreigners. He also proposes a London ‘living rent’ — essentially a form of rent control. This is a reminder that Khan, however moderate he now sounds, remains very much on the left.

While he is the son of a bus driver, Zac Goldsmith is the son of a billionaire. But Khan pledges not to make this point too often. ‘Criticising him for who he is and where he’s come from; I won’t do that,’ he says. Voters, he suspects, don’t much care if Goldsmith is an Old Etonian. ‘When you look at who the Prime Minister is, it didn’t do him any damage.’

The Tories would dearly love to turn this contest into independent-minded Zac versus Jeremy Corbyn’s man. But by love-bombing Tories and business, Khan is determined to stop them doing that. So if the Tories are to stop Labour retaking City Hall, then the Goldsmith campaign will have to match Khan’s organisation, energy and enthusiasm.

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  • fundamentallyflawed

    Typical dissonance from the left – he welcomes the billionaires and the millionaires yet wants to micro manage rents and housing to keep them out.
    Which really means he wants to appear to be doing something to help the ordinary people while making sure as much foreign money floods in as possible. The heir to Johnson indeed

    • Don Beedaft

      Not forgetting how he branded Britain’s voters ‘bastards’ after Labour lost the General Election in May this year.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Mr Khan if I called you a four letter word beginning with P I would be condemned as a racist . You on the BBC’s Question Time called English people ‘Little Englanders’ , this is a derogatory label that insults a nationality, by any measure racist language.

    So why should English people want to elect an anti English racist as mayor of their capital city?

    • jeffersonian

      Sadly the time when the English (or indeed the British) constituted a majority of electors in London is no more.

  • douglas redmayne

    I normally vote Labour but in this contest I will vote UKIP because I do not want to vote for a Moslem.

  • Shorne

    Cartoon worthy of ‘Der Stürmer’.

    • Observer1951

      Except it depicts a Moslem Jew?

    • Mongo

      I’m waiting for people to start crying racist at that illustration. Mind you, the Zac Goldsmith one is no better

  • Dutchnick

    Quite simple he can give direct answers to direct questions and we can decide if we want him as mayor.
    As a Muslim you are instructed to wish to live under Sharia. Correct?
    Do you believe that anybody drawing cartoons or other illustrations of your prophet should face sanctions from any body?
    Should Gays be stoned to death?
    Are women the property of their fathers, brothers, husbands?
    Should apostates be killed?
    Should Islamic faith schools and Madrassa be allowed to continue?

    Knowing where you stand on the promotion of this faith is important.

    • Mongo

      A Muslim left wing mayor would be a disaster for London, Just a disaster

      notice he’s trying to win over the white middle classes from the suburbs with his lies. Londoners – don’t buy it!

      • alfred5

        The Tory print media will SPOOK the suburbs to the polls

        • UKSteve

          I doubt it, they’ll be too busy watching Eastenders or football, which is how we got where we are.

    • Lord_Wakefield

      Do you reject Jihad as way of getting to heaven?

  • Don Beedaft

    Red Khan is all things to all men. He will say one thing to one group of voters and the opposite to a different group (note his rapid volte-face on the 3rd runway at Heathrow). He also claims that he nominated Comrade Corbyn simply ‘to widen the debate’: nothing to do with the fact that he wanted to ‘harvest’ Jezza’s voters for his own ambitions then ??

    He is clearly an accomplished mountebank; I don’t believe that the thinking Londoner will be purchasing any snake oil from this gentleman.

  • newname

    Not sure what to make of this: ‘we should explain to people in Muslim majority countries that I am the West so when they think they hate the West they are hating me.’ In other words, it’s fine for Muslims to hate the west, except when the west is Muslim…?

    • sebastian2

      Correct. Condemned by his own mouth.

  • Bring Back Free Speech

    I find it astonishing that the media is deliberately conspiring to hide Khan’s background. He is a lifelong friend of Babar Ahmed, a terrorist who was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment in America for terrorist-related activities. He visited Ahmed when he was in Belmarsh,prior to eventual deportation (thanks to American determination). There was a report on him and Ahmed in the December 2008 Daily Mail, which appears to have been wiped from the record. By not reminding the public of his background, the media are complicit. If Ahmed does win, it will be because of the mass invasion of third world immigrants that our weak nation has failed to stem. A London he likes because a woman can wear a hijab! Lovely, what a freedom! That is not the west, it is a corrupt, weak shadow of its former self, unable to stand up for its own values.

    • secretpeople

      He’s quite difficult to pin down and seems to contradict himself with every other utterance. And I am unsure how this alleged expression of freedom sits with his professed enthusiasm for greater integration: “I could wear black and grow a beard; if my wife chose to she could wear a hijab. I feel so strongly about this.”

      • hobspawn

         “He’s quite difficult to pin down and seems to contradict himself with every other utterance.”

        Like the murderous book he believes in.

      • Mongo

        full of contradictions and double standards. in other words: an archetypal Labour MP

        he knows that if he followed a more overtly devout Islamic lifestyle it would have harmed his legal and political career (and his wallet)

        • secretpeople

          It’s as if he’s trying to be all things to all voter groupings.

      • sebastian2

        “London is a place we are free to follow sharia if we want to.” Not hard to see which narrow community this divisive statement is appealing to. Translated, it means that London is a place where jihad may be waged with impunity.
        Not so, you imposter. You duplicitous scoundrel. Not so.

        • secretpeople

          Well, let’s see if DC puts his words into action: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/01/cameron-highlights-eu-referendum-biggest-voter-issue-2016/

          He said: “When our national security is threatened by a seething hatred of the West, one that turns people against their country and can even turn them into murderous extremists, I want us to be very clear: you will not defeat us.

          “And we will not just confront the violence and the terror; we will take on their underlying poisonous narrative of grievance and resentment.

          “We will come down hard on those who create the conditions for that narrative to flourish.

          “And we will have greater confidence in, indeed we will revel in, our way of life.

          “Because if you walk our streets, learn in our schools, benefit from our society, you sign up to our values – freedom, tolerance, responsibility, loyalty.”

      • Gilbert White

        You have never spent a weekend in Lahore with Pakistanis, like Prince Harry, has , then? We need a law saying all follow British secular law at streetvlevel or sod off back to the Punjab?

        • BritishPatriot

          Would that be such a bad thing? That was a rhetorical question? Gilbert?

      • slyblade

        Nick Ferrari on LBC Radio took him apart easily, the man is a complete liar

    • Caractacus

      The starting gun on the election hasn’t been fired yet. Give it time.

  • Blindsideflanker

    “all new properties to have to be offered to Londoners before they can be sold to foreigners. ”

    So who are foreigners Mr Khan? Are we seeing a touch of Xenophobia here ? Is he intending to ban Irish and foreign Blacks from buying houses in London? Are the English from outside London also to be barred from buying houses in London?

    • rtj1211

      I think he means people who are not resident in this country and are not intending becoming resident in this country at the time of the purchase.

      I’m sure the principle should be that house prices should reflect purchasing power of London employees, workers and business owners, in the main. Of course, if parents buy a flat for their student son/daughter to live in, the flat will be occupied, which is the point of housing, isn’t it?

      I think you are being deliberately sensitive, although you are right to ask politely for clarification.

    • sebastian2

      Any property placed on the market is automatically “offered” to any potential buyer. Londoners included. I doubt that a seller could legally discriminate against foreigners anyway. These are empty phrases.

    • Maureen Fisher

      I think he refers to properties being sold off plan to Malaysia or China and I wouldn’t criticise that particular policy.

    • greencoat

      A gaelic-speaking, kilt-wearing Scotsman would be seen as utterly exotic….

  • rtj1211

    The Tower Hamlets ‘electoral innovation start-up’ is now poised to scale up, perhaps?

    • Mongo

      votes for Labour will come flooding in from across the nation. I expect the population of London to mysteriously swell by a million or so just before May

      • alfred5

        There are many folks from east Europe living in London with painful historical memories of the Ottoman Empire

        • UKSteve

          There are people in London who are 715 years old 🙂 ?

      • sebastian2

        Yes. Signatures will be migrating like Wildebeests. It will be one of the world’s most riveting political spectacles.

  • Business Cat

    Labour will win comfortably.

    The Tower Hamlets gambit is their bedrock for electoral success.
    The Mayoral election will be over before the actual polling booths open.

    • Mongo

      with bloc postal voting these days most elections are decided days or even weeks before polling day

      I trust the EC has learnt from Tower Hamlets and will be rigorously clamping down on fraud

      • Ivan Ewan

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Good one!

        Personally I trust the EC will be helping stuff the ballot boxes.

    • alfred5

      Why didn’t didn’t they win the last two elections ?

    • sebastian2

      The Electoral Commission will need to keep a very close eye indeed on what the mosques will be up to and how postal voting is conducted.
      The mohammedan “community” has a certain well deserved reputation.

  • Londonistan will have a Muslim mayor thanks to a Muslim block vote and the on going abuse of the postal voting scandal. And this can’t be discussed in polite society. It’s just insane beyond belief

    • alfred5

      Muslims are only 12% of the city

      • slyblade

        Yet 40% of the vote, postal vote for the win.

    • sebastian2

      “block vote” describes it. Collectively and unthinkingly pro mohammedan and co-ordinated through the mosques. It’s one that would vote for a dog if it was called mohammed.

      • James Lovelace

        I lived opposite a mosque for 20 years. Most people would move, but I wanted to understand how they operate. Those who live elsewhere have no idea that the mosques literally are command and control centres.

        6 weeks before the 2010 election (when the BNP was at its zenith), muslims disappeared from the streets of my area of London. Friends in the area recognised this strange phenomenon too. A few days later, I heard the same thing from other islamised areas of England. They were absent day and night until the election. As soon as the election was over, they were back on the streets, just like they’d been 2 months earlier. They were told that keeping a low profile was the best way to ensure their presence did not influence the electoral choices of the kuffar.

        How is it that muslims across the UK know which supermarkets are stocking halal meat? We kuffar are not told the meat we are buying is halal. So how do they know?

        Because the supermarkets are informing the mosques, and the mosques are telling the muslims. Without this knowledge muslims would not be buying haram meat from Asda etc.

        A friend of mine thought he was the shoe-in for a Labour safe parliamentary seat in London. On the night of the selection, suddenly coachloads of muslims appeared, membrs of the Labour party never before seen. A muslim was of course chosen for the seat. But still the Ansar Left do not learn.

        • mecha-rigsby

          Following what you describe above to its natural conclusions is chilling.

    • mickey667

      only 12% of London;s population are muslim mate.

      Nice conspiracy theory but completely stupid

  • jeffersonian

    ‘And London, he says, is the one of best cities in the world in which to be a Muslim.’

    I’m sure he’s right. Shame about the other six million of us who are not.

    And of course Londonistan should have a brother of the Umma at the helm. Fitting epitaph for this once great city.

    • Mongo

      I suspect it’s generally better and safer to be a Muslim in London, than a Muslim in a city in an Islamic country

      • jeffersonian

        Probably true – and entirely beside the point. This is not a Muslim country (yet).

  • Don Beedaft

    This tells you much of what you need to know about Mr. Khan


  • mecha-rigsby

    The last thing London needs is you, Mr Khan. There is more than enough Islam and Muslims and concessions to the religion of peace as it it.

    • alfred5

      There are simply not enough gormless people in London to elect Khan as Mayor

      • UKSteve

        Oooh, I don’t know. Tower Hamlets, Brixton, Lambeth, Tottenham, Haringey, etc…..?

        • greencoat

          That’s right – some ‘gormless’ people manage to vote two or three times..

      • Callan

        Read Melanie Phillips “Londonistan” written a few years ago. You may change your mind.

    • sebastian2

      I suspect the true focus will be on closing down any type of criticism of Islam.” I suspect you are correct.

  • BritishPatriot

    Sadiq Khan: I will defeat Zac. The only question is how I do it.

    Dodgy postal votes?

  • sebastian2

    “And London, he says, is the one of best cities in the world in which to be a Muslim.” Does this man want to be Mayor of London or Mayor of mohammedans in London? I rather suspect the latter.
    I wonder how other Londoners – Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, Rastafarians, Mormons, Christians, Pagans, Atheists – view his mohammedan preoccupations. With consternation, I hope.

  • Wee Mental Davie

    If this muslim wins, it will be the biggest warning to all the British people, how our very own democracy will end up being responsible for our own decline as a free Western country and a race towards becoming under repulsive islamic control.

    • hindleA

      Totally agree,if he wins by the democratic vote ,it must be revoked in the name of democracy,pure common sense.

  • DaHitman

    Sadiq like most Muslims would be classed as right-wing back in his country of lineage

  • profbarkingmad

    Blatantly a sad stereotype zombie robot cipher – not fully human (but hey, who is these days?-) anyway, his ‘150+ billionaires’ are probaly mainly insane arab oil-perverts or russian mafia monkkey-thugs – or tories (same thing) – I say, evacuate whatever ‘decent’ people are left and then nuke the city from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure….

  • Ominous

    On current projections Whites will be minorities in all major cities in England within 30 years. Essentially the cowardly natives either run off to the countryside or they emigrate which only empowers immigrant communities within urban locations. Why complain when all that is happening is of your own doing? The White population has initiated its own destruction in England. Not to worry though, guzzle some booze (while it’s still legal) and watch your beloved football team or reality television show.

    • Marvin

      Nothing to do with the filth of ghettos, the human right for BME parasites, bush meat and monkey brains barbecues in the next garden, savages carrying knives and cops more interested in the next London Gay Parade then confronting an ethnic
      thug. Go and have a look at the once lovely areas of Purley and Coulsdon, you may then understand.

  • It’s getting harder and harder to distinguish Sadiq’s goals and aims from Zac’s; the only difference is so far is that Zac hasn’t done such blatant u-turns on his policies e.g. Heathrow expansion and lately, the controversial Garden Bridge.

    Sadiq is almost licking Boris’s boots in this interview despite the debt and chronic disasters that have befallen London under his leadership; the failure of the cable car, the bike hire scheme and the current traffic standstill chaos caused by a poorly thought out cycle superhighway. Both this and the Garden Bridge have been rushed through so that Boris cab claim them as his legacy. Poor deluded Sadiq seems to think that he will be basking in the non-existent rays of Boris’s glory. It’s become impossible to trust him no matter what his background; he is fixated with being the underdog who has risen up but has lost a lot of humility (a la Corbyn?) along the way.

    Sign here to stop the Garden Bridge http://www.change.org/p/lambeth-council-planning-david-smith-lambeth-council-put-the-garden-bridge-where-it-s-needed Support our legal challenge here http://www.everyclick.com/tcos

  • João Manuel Gomes

    “I could wear black and grow a beard; if my wife chose to she could wear a hijab. I feel so strongly about this”

    “We’ve got to think a bit more about how we encourage, cajole people into integrating much more.”

    Hummmmm ….

  • Only traitors, and muslims, would vote for a muslim major.
    Sane people do not want London to turn into a Tower Hamlets – we all know what happened there.

  • Liberanos

    Someone needs to galvanise the infidel vote.

    • Marvin

      The white race just cannot breed that fast, they have to stop for a drink, football and someone has to go to work?

      • Gilbert White

        Trump and others need to point out to the poor these chancers are taking the bread from their children’s mouths. All will understand you can only cut the cake so many ways?

  • UKSteve

    If it’s this clown vs Zac, then Goldsmith it is.

    On HIGHFY recently, he said that anyone who doesn’t vote to stay in the EU in the coming referendum is “xenophobic”.

    So Londoners, do you want someone with that level of stupidity and narrow-mindedness as Mayor?

  • GoJebus

    On the plus side the nutter squad of Hisb ut-Tahrir and other lunatics consider Mr Khan an apostate.

    If only he would be a little more respectful and promote full integration with the native culture of this country – in the round objectively a better and more advanced culture than that operating in Pakistan, where the older Khan’s hail from (and Sana Ahmed-Khan, Mohammad Sidique-Khan, Aabid Khan, Omar Khan, Pervaiz Khan, all Islamist terrorists, and the many other Khans in this country who hate our guts and would be like them).

    I don’t need or want to be told to befriend a Muslim, which is partly Mr Khan’s version of integration. Muslims need to be embracing us (I mean seriously giving us a big hug), which will involve a massive reformation of their religion and an urgent, open review into their thinking about apostasy, blasphemy, gay rights (to his credit Mr Khan is a supporter) and Sharia. It might also be nice to share a bacon sandwich, a pint of beer or to enjoy the local folk festival, or walk our dogs together. Who knows?

  • Bosun Higgs

    Three whole pages of the Speccie on a local government matter. What?

  • Kasperlos

    A win by the crime syndicate named Labour will spur Islamic radicals to seek public office throughout Britain. The start of this, of course, is where Islam communities elect their own. WItness the surge in Mohammedan MPs. Their loyalties are not to the crown, nor to British, EU, or Western values. These MPs represent their conservative Muslim constituencies’ values which are anti-British, anti-freedom, anti-West, and pro-Sharia, pro-caliphate, pro-feudal. A Kahn win signals that Britain has fallen to the Saracen terror. Might as well put a crescent on top of Big Ben.

    • Callan

      Can you explain that to Cameron. He is all in favour of the desperate scenario you paint. Why else has he done nothing about the fraudulent postal voting scandal?

  • Colin

    Where’s Andrew Gilligan, when you need him?

  • Marvin

    With the Moslem vote behind him, even Jesus would lose. You cannot win against the sheer numbers settled in Londonistan.

    • alfred5

      It’s less than 13%

      • sponner

        That was nearly 5 years ago, so more like 26% now, and they are all ready to be mobilised for jihad.

      • Terry Field

        And I am a fairy elephant.

      • Marvin

        Still reading the jokes from your Christmas crackers then? That’s just ten halal butcher’s shops. Don’t you know this stupid country pays people to have as many children as they want.

      • MC73

        It was in 2011. Based on the rise from 2001 to 2011 it will be about 15% by the election, all encouraged to vote along ethnic and religious lines by ‘community leaders’. Plus a few more if dodgy voting (as is endemic in Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim communities in the UK) is not cracked down on.
        Plus Corbynista lefties and the half-witted middle class Labour voters keen to win a Darwin Award. That will make a good chunk of the electorate.
        Both sets will be pleased (perhaps secretly in the latter case) by the anti-semitic tone the Khan campaign will inevitably take (under the guidance of slamming Zac as a wealthy dilettante, perhaps talk of ‘global elites’ but don’t mention the J word).

  • Callan

    Listened to Khan yesterday and Goldsmith this morning on the BBC Today programme. Goldsmith was intelligent, articulate and reasonable despite the interminable interruptions. Khan sounded like a “Jack the Lad” chancer, a used car salesman. Not to be trusted.

    • alfred5

      Zac is inexperienced but trustworthy …khan is a cunning and devious little fox …Lynton Crosby is a foxcatcher !

    • mickey667

      Zac Goldsmith has achieved precisely zero in his privileged little existence and is a bit dim. Wont be getting my vote. None of them will in fact

  • Terry Field

    If London wants that, its inhabitants could take a Eurostar trip to Paris to see how bedraggled a once-great capital city can become after many years of socialism, capped off with a smiley pretty left-wing mayor.
    Goldsmith is intelligent, educated, sophisticated, comparatively open, clearly wise, environmentally sophisticated.
    That is why the thick stupid London proletariat will vote Khan.
    Let us hope there are more people of quality than slobs.

  • Gilbert White

    Uman rites lawyer=trash?

  • Stewart Ellinson

    Some truly horrid, bigotted comments on here. I sincerely hope that these commenters are the kind of narrow minded foul mouthed morons who restrict their activities to the internet and shouting at the TV.

    I hope Sadiq Khan wins the mayoral race. London needs a real mayor and not a TV personality with a a vanity project fetish. Maybe a Khan mayoralty can do something about the ludicrous Boris buses which are wasting so much TfL money. Then there’s the extension of the congestion charge – boris cancelled it for his kensington mates, but it still needs doing and the living rent is an idea whose time has come or soon there will be only the 400,000 millionaires able to live in london. SK for mayor.

    • mickey667

      That is the spectator readership sadly.

    • Dave Roberts

      Get Sadiq Khan get Lee Jasper and all of the other ethnic crooks who were booted out when Boris won. They are campaigning for Khan as he has promised them jobs.

  • mickey667

    Sadique Khan’s nose goes over his mouth?