London mayor joins PM for EU rally
Sadiq Khan. Source: Wikimedia
London’s newly elected Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, is to put aside his differences with Prime Minister David Cameron and campaign to keep Britain in the EU ahead of the June 23 referendum.
Labour MPs recently shouted Cameron down as “racist” in parliament for his contributions to the London mayoral campaign. The unlikely alliance will together launch a Britain Stronger in Europe battle bus, despite the leader of Khan’s Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, refusing to engage in joint appearances with Cameron.
Khan said: “Is it in London’s interest for me to hold grudges? Is it in London’s interests for the mayor of London to be at permanent war with the Conservative prime minister?
“We’re never going to be best friends, but what is important is that the mayor of London argues the case for London and for Londoners to remain in the European Union. This debate is far more important than David Cameron or me. It’s about our city’s future and country’s future.”
Conservative tactics in the run-up to last month’s mayoral vote in support of Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith were condemned for harming community relations.
Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative co-chairwoman, said the campaign was “appalling” while Andrew Boff, the Tory leader on the Greater London Assembly, said it had “done real damage” and “blown up” bridges the party had built with London’s Muslims.
The pro-EU ex-Conservative finance minister Ken Clarke has attacked the outgoing London mayor and leader of the Brexit campaign Boris Johnson.
Clarke told the BBC: “I think Boris and Donald Trump should go away for a bit and enjoy themselves and not get in the way of serious issues which modern countries in the 21st century face. He’s a much nicer version of Donald Trump but the campaign is remarkably similar in my opinion, and about as relevant to the real problems the public face.
“We ought to be talking about the benefit this country gets, and always has, from being in the EU,” he said.
Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, and former cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, have both campaigned beside their adversary Cameron, but the affable former home secretary, Alan Johnson, joined Corbyn in refusing to campaign with Cameron.
Of Chancellor George Osborne, Khan said: “George Osborne, from the meetings I’ve had with him, and the conversations we’ve had, understands why it’s in the country’s interests for London to do well.
“He cares about devolving power away from Whitehall, and to give him credit he’s given more power to SNP Scotland, more power to Labour Wales, more power to a Labour Greater Manchester and I believe genuinely he’ll give more power to London as well.”