Khan elected first Muslim mayor of London
London, May 7
New London mayor Sadiq Khan won a landslide victory today, becoming the first Muslim leader of a Western capital, boosting the Labour party and raising questions over failed Conservative tactics.
Khan, whose Pakistani parents emigrated to Britain in the 1960s, beat Conservative multimillionaire Zac Goldsmith with 57 per cent or 1.3 million votes — handing him the largest mandate of any British politician in history.
“Thank you London. London is the greatest city in the world. I am so proud of our city. I am deeply humbled by the hope and trust you have placed in me today,” Khan said in his acceptance speech in the early hours.
“I grew up on a council estate... back then I never dreamt that someone like me could be elected as mayor of London.
I want every single Londoner to get the opportunities that our city gave to me and my family — the opportunities not just to survive, but to thrive.” Khan swept to victory despite repeated insinuations over extremist links from his rivals, including Prime Minister David Cameron.
Khan repeatedly rejected the allegations and Labour accused Goldsmith of Islamophobia.
“This election was not without controversy and I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division,” the 45-year-old added. “I hope that we will never be offered such a stark choice again. Fear doesn’t make us safer, it only makes us weaker, and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.”
The victory offered some cheer for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after setbacks elsewhere following regional elections across Britain on Thursday, amid a damaging row over anti-Semitism in the party. Khan succeeds the charismatic Boris Johnson after a two-year term.
The London mayoralty has responsibility for transport, housing, policing and promoting economic development. It also carries prestige and political clout at national level.
News of the win was applauded in Pakistan. The victory was hailed in Tooting, a multi-ethnic area of south London where Khan lives and where he grew up.