Despite voting for Corbyn as Labour leader, Mr Khan’s and Mr Corbyn’s trajectories may be bound on a collision course


On Friday Labour candidate Sadiq Khan won the London mayoral election in the face of Zac Goldsmith’s controversial campaign. But is this the win Labour needs or will it only deepen the division in the party?

A Little Bit About Khan

In his manifesto Mr Khan proclaimed himself ‘a Mayor for all Londoners’. He lays out plans to back Prime Minister David Cameron in his campaign to stay in the EU; build affordable housing for Londoners (with Londoners having ‘first dibs’ over foreign investors); intends to freeze travel prices for four years and supports a ‘London Living Rent’ which would be one-third of the average local wage. All these issues and more seem to put him eye-to-eye with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Concerning his background. Mr Khan’s parents moved to London from Pakistan in the 1960s and were able to get an affordable council house of their own. He grew up on a council estate with a large immediate family. He went to a state school and eventually studied law, going on to become a human rights lawyer. Mr Khan was the first Muslim to attend Cabinet and is now the first Muslim Prime Minister (I’ve heard whispers in the highly conservative area in which I live that this is a sign of the apocalypse, but for now let’s just assume it’s a sign of increased tolerance).

Khan was even responsible for nominating Jeremy Corbyn for the current position as Labour leader, though they don’t appear to be on quite so equitable terms at present.

Khan vs. Corbyn

‘In Labour our mission is to improve the lives of people, we only do that by winning elections. We only do that by speaking to people who have not voted Labour. There is no point just speaking to Labour voters — our core vote— we need to speak to everyone’.

(London Mayor Sadiq Khan on the Andrew Marr Show)

No sooner did Mr Khan win the mayoral election than did the Labour infighting begin anew and with fresh vigour. In what was seen as a slight against Khan, Jeremy Corbyn moved to congratulate the Labour candidate in Bristol instead of staying in London to celebrate Mr Khan’s success.

However, the friction doesn’t just come from Mr Corbyn. In what has been (accurately) called a not-so-subtle dig at Corbyn, Khan has called for more bipartisanship from the Labour Party. Mr Khan has said that Labour appealing to staunch Labour demographics (such as unions) was a tactic doomed to fail, as victory can only be achieved in 2020 by winning back those who voted Conservative in 2015. He admits that they have gone some of the way towards doing this, but acknowledges that the party are still a long way from where they need to be to regain the majority. This along with losses in England and a major blow dealt to them in Scotland has gone some way towards bolstering the argument of the new Mayor of London.

Jeremy Corbyn has to stop missing ‘open goals’ says Sadiq Khan.

Even Mr Corbyn agrees that the Labour Party isn’t doing enough to win voters, though he claims: ‘this is only the first stage in our task of building a winning electoral majority, attracting voters from all the other parties and mobilising those who have been turned off politics altogether — as we did last week in Bristol and London’. But will the far-left Labour leader put aside his rigorous beliefs to reach out to the Tories in any way that matters?

Some have gone so far as to suggest that a party coup may be in the offing.

Though Mr Khan says there is more chance of ‘a snowstorm in the Sahara’ than him wielding his power at what is essentially Labour’s most powerful politician, Mr Corbyn. But as antipathy towards Mr Corbyn grows, who knows what Mr Khan, the most popular directly-elected politician in the UK, might say or do in support of the greater good of the party.

Mr Khan made reference to the infighting of the Labour party, saying: ‘Squabbles over internal structures might be important for some in the party, but it is clear they mean little or nothing to the huge majority of voters’, but who knows what the future holds …




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