Sadiq Khan has said Labour is going to need “as much help as possible” in his fight to be reelected as mayor of London, accusing the Tories of attempting to “make it easier for them to win” through changes to the way Londoners vote.
In a keynote speech to the Fabian Society’s new year conference this morning, the London mayor argued that this year’s mayoral election will be the “toughest yet”, highlighting that it would be the first to use the first-past-the-post voting system and the first where voters will be required to show photo ID.
Following the speech, Khan told LabourList: “The cynical way in which the government have brought in major changes to the way Londoners vote to make it easier for them to win, but have done barely anything to ensure voters know about the changes, risks damaging democracy in May.
“Election day is just over 100 days away. We have a lot of work to do together to stave off the hard-right Tory threat in May.
“Remember, the Tory candidate backed Liz Truss’s Budget sending mortgages and rents soaring, causing chaos for millions of Londoners, and she continues to sow division across London, endorsing the racist Enoch Powell and Katie Hopkins’ comments about ‘Londonistan’.
“The London election is going to be a very close two-horse race. Only myself or the Tory candidate can win, so we’re going to need as much help as possible to fight for a fairer, safer London for all.”
London mayor @SadiqKhan is delivering the first keynote speech at the @thefabians new year conference.
Khan discusses his free school meals scheme in primary schools, saying it has been a “universal success” pic.twitter.com/6L8ZSFa6fv
— LabourList (@LabourList) January 20, 2024
Khan is seeking to be reelected for a third term as London mayor, having first been elected in 2016. If successful, he would be the first holder of the post to serve for three terms.
In his speech this morning, Khan said the mayoral election was a “fight” that Labour “must win”, declaring that 2024 offers the “greatest prize of all” of a Labour mayor working with a Labour Prime Minister.
He accused the Tories of telling a “hollow, desperate, divisive narrative”, telling attendees: “We cannot, we must not, let the Tories do to our capital what they’ve done to our country.”
In a question-and-answer session following the speech, the London mayor warned against voting for other parties, arguing that a vote for the Greens or Liberal Democrats in a first-past-the-post system “means one less vote for the Tories to get”.
“Nobody’s complacent. It’s going to be a tough campaign. We’re going to work our socks off,” Khan told attendees, adding: “It’s not about making history. It’s about shaping our future.”
Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall told an LBC phone-in last year that she “can’t remember” supporting a 2019 post by Katie Hopkins, saying: “I tweet, or I used to, all the time.”
Asked about liking a tweet in 2020 featuring a picture of former Tory minister Enoch Powell alongside the words “It’s never too late to get London back”, Hall said any offence “wasn’t intended”, adding that she was “of course not” a fan of Powell.
“If you’re a serial tweeter, you tend to go through liking all sorts of things. If anybody is offended, then obviously I would apologise,” she said.
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