LONDON – Labour’s Sadiq Khan has become the first Muslim mayor of London, breaking the Conservatives’ eight-year hold on the London mayoralty by defeating Tory rival Zac Goldsmith.
“Congratulations @SadiqKhan. Can’t wait to work with you to create a London that is fair for all! #YesWeKhan,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted.
Khan, who will be the city’s first Muslim mayor, has 44.2% of first preference votes to Goldsmith’s 35.6% – second preference votes are now being counted.
Nine out of the 14 constituencies in London went to the Labour, with the Conservatives trailing behind with 5.
While the turnout was 45.6 percent this year, YouGov President Peter Kellner said the Labour politician would win the race by around 300,000 votes, in an interview with the BBC.
Goldsmith has been accused of participating in a “dirty” campaign by accusing Khan of affiliating with Muslim extremists.
“This vile campaign run by the Tories, the way they’ve tried to smear Sadiq Khan, the methods they’ve used and the language they’ve used, has had a very big effect in exactly the way they didn’t want,” Corbyn said.
Speaking in Sheffield, Corbyn said that the Tory candidate, Goldsmith, had engaged in a “smear” campaign in trying to link Khan to “extremists” and this had helped Labour.
“So many people are just revolted by what was said about Sadiq yesterday they came out and voted for us,” he added.
His comments followed similar acknowledgment from senior Conservative London politician Andrew Boff who criticized the party’s mayoral campaign for seeking to link Khan to “extremists”.
“I was supportive of the whole campaign apart from one element and that one was where it seemed to attribute radical tendencies to people of orthodox religious views.
“I think that is a complete misunderstanding of the patchwork of faiths there are in London, and has the potential to alienate people.”
Supporters of Khan have already begun tweeting congratulations to the new mayor.
“Historic victory for @SadiqKhan. Becomes only the 3rd person to be directly-elected mayor of London, perhaps the greatest city in the world,” Mehdi Hasan tweeted.
“Zac Goldsmith runs a sleazy, shameless, anti-Muslim campaign against Sadiq Khan – and loses. Good lesson for future Conservative politicians,” Wahajat Ali tweeted.
“Very well done @LondonLabour @SadiqKhan #labourgain, Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey & member of the Shadow Cabinet, tweeted.
Khan grew up one of eight kids in a crowded South London apartment.
He escaped the lower working class neighborhood to study law at the University of North London, and became a human rights lawyer before he was elected to Parliament in 2005 as a member of the Labour Party.
He studied law at the University of North London and later practiced as a human rights solicitor before being elected to Parliament in 2005 representing the ward he grew up in on a Labour Party ticket.
He has also served as minister of state for communities and transport minister.
Khan is the first Muslim mayor to be elected to lead a Western European city as Rotterdam’s Ahmed Aboutaleb was appointed rather than elected to the post in 2009.