Labour’s Sadiq Khan elected London mayor

London new mayor, Sadiq Khan

The British Labour party’s Sadiq Khan has been elected as London mayor by comfortably outrunning of his nearest rival.

The Labour party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn congratulated Khan on his victory on Friday evening.

Khan picked up 44 percent of first preference votes to Conservative Zac Goldsmith’s 35 percent.

The Labour candidate then picked up enough second preference votes to cross the 50 percent threshold.

Conservative Member of Parliament, Zac Goldsmith’s campaign has been marked by accusations of being “dirty” and “negative”, including from within his own party, for its emphasis on Khan’s ties to alleged extremists.

Critics have accused Goldsmith of attacking Khan on the basis of his Muslim faith and labelled his campaign racist, a claim he denies.

Khan, who calls himself “the British Muslim who will take the fight to the extremists”, accused Goldsmith of trying to scare and divide voters in a proudly multicultural city of 8.6 million people, more than 1 million of them Muslims.

Humble beginnings
The new mayor of the UK’s capital is the son of immigrants from Pakistan who settled in London in the 1960s, where his father worked as a bus driver.

Khan studied law and later became a human rights lawyer before being elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for the London constituency of Tooting in 2005.

Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister, included Khan in his cabinet, first as minister for communities and then transport. After Labour lost power in 2010, its leader Ed Miliband included Khan in his shadow cabinet.

Social media reaction
Some of the fault lines surrounding Khan’s election were visible on social media as soon it became clear he was the most likely candidate to win.

Huge numbers congratulated Khan and expressed pride in the UK’s diversity, but for others it was more evidence of the Islamisation of the West.

This despite Khan’s progressive voting record that has put him at odds with religious conservatives.

Many users mocked what they saw as xenophobic responses to Khan’s mayorship.

 

Aljazeera/Sammie