London has chosen ‘hope over fear’. LONDONERS ELECT FIRST MUSLIM MAYOR
By Ahmed A Malik (Editor-in-Chief)
Sadiq Khan has been elected mayor of London with a huge majority over his Tory rival Zac Goldsmith. He took 1,310,143 votes (57%) after the final count beating Zac Goldsmith who took 994,614 (43%). This gave him the largest personal mandate in the history of UK politics.
He fought a bitter election campaign during which the Tories accused him of being the supporter of extremists. Even the Prime Minister David Cameron questioned his judgment during his speech in the House of Commons. Several ministers criticised Mr. Khan for sharing platforms with some controversial figures during his early days in politics. But he has strongly denied supporting any extremist views. The Labour party branded the Goldsmith’s campaign as Islamophobic.
Soon after the result was announced Mr. Khan said: “I am deeply humbled by the hope and trust” voters placed in him and thanked every Londoner “for making the impossible possible.”
He said: “I’m so proud that Londoners have today chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”
Mr. Goldsmith has received heavy criticism from his own party. Former chairman of the Conservative Party Baroness Warsi, described his campaign as an “appalling dog-whistle campaign” and said it “lost us the election, our reputation and credibility on issues of race and religion”.
The outgoing deputy mayor of London Roger Evans, commented on his “very foolish” campaign saying ‘It left a negative legacy which we in London are going to have to clear up long after the people who ran Zac Goldsmith’s campaign have gone on their way”.
Andrew Boff, a senior tory assembly member said: “I hope we don’t do this stupid thing again by trying to bring Sadiq down by saying he is an extremist. He is not an extremist. He went out and engaged with people with orthodox religious views. Dialogue is not assisted by shutting people out.”
Goldsmith’s campaign received harsh criticism from his sister, Jemima Khan (former wife of the Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan) who tweeted: “Sad that Zac’s campaign did not reflect who I know him to be – an eco friendly, independent-minded politician with integrity.”
Mr. Khan repeated his manifesto promise to deal with London’s housing crisis with priority and to serve as “a mayor for all Londoners”. He has also said he would freeze fares on public transport for 4 years.