London: The son of a Pakistani bus driver looks set to be elected as London’s first Muslim mayor and the first such leader of a European Union capital in local elections on Thursday.
Sadiq Khan. Pic/AFP
Labour party candidate Sadiq Khan is leading in most surveys by a minimum of nine points over his Conservative party rival Zac Goldsmith.
Khan’s lead has been fairly consistent throughout the mayoral campaign, despite his party being embroiled in an unseemly anti-Semitic row over the last week. The 45-year-old was himself accused of racism as a video emerged of him referring to moderate Muslims as “Uncle Toms”.
“I do regret using the phrase and I am sorry,” he said in a radio interview yesterday but went on to accuse his rival, the son of late billionaire Sir James Goldsmith and brother of Jemima Khan, of using “divisive and increasingly desperate” tactics.
“We need a mayor that will unite us, not divide us... I’ve had seven months of negative, divisive and increasingly desperate stuff from him,” he said.
He has relied on his working class roots and upbringing on a London council housing estate as strong credentials. Khan has also tried to distance himself from the unpopular Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who he had in fact nominated to widen the field of candidates.