Sadiq Khan

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The Right Honourable
Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan.png
3rd Mayor of London
Assumed office
9 May 2016
Deputy Joanne McCartney
Preceded by Boris Johnson
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
Shadow Lord Chancellor
In office
8 October 2010 – 11 May 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Shadowing Kenneth Clarke
Chris Grayling
Michael Gove
Preceded by Jack Straw
Succeeded by The Lord Falconer of Thoroton
Shadow Minister for London
In office
16 January 2013 – 11 May 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Tessa Jowell
Succeeded by Vacant
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
In office
14 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
Leader Harriet Harman (Acting)
Ed Miliband
Shadowing Philip Hammond
Preceded by The Lord Adonis
Succeeded by Maria Eagle
Minister of State for Transport
In office
8 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by The Lord Adonis
Succeeded by Theresa Villiers
Minister of State for Communities
In office
4 October 2008 – 8 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Parmjit Dhanda
Succeeded by Shahid Malik
Member of Parliament
for Tooting
In office
5 May 2005 – 9 May 2016
Preceded by Tom Cox
Succeeded by Rosena Allin-Khan
Personal details
Born Sadiq Aman Khan
(1970-10-08) 8 October 1970 (age 48)
London, United Kingdom
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Saadiya Ahmed (m. 1994)
Children 2
Alma mater University of North London
University of Law
Religion Sunni Islam
Website Official website

Sadiq Aman Khan (born 8 October 1970) is a left-wing Muslim politician who has been Mayor of London since May 2016. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tooting from 2005 to 2016.[1][2] He is a member of the Labour Party i.e. socialist.

Khan was elected on a minority vote, gaining the support of only 21% of Londoners in the first round of voting. Since his election he has ignored continued calls for his resignation, on ground of incompetence, failure and breach of his election pledges.

When he took office, the rate of violent crime in London had been steadily falling for twenty years. Since he became Mayor, there has been a surge in violent crime, with homicide rates rising steeply and causing international concern. [3] Knife crime and acid-attacks are the most frequently reported, with many cases of gang murder and terrorist attacks. Violent crime on the London tube has increased by 43%. [4] Neither right nor leftwing newspapers deny the seriousness of the problem of violence in London. Homicide, rape and violent robbery are all on the increase, and many of the perpetrators are immigrants. [5]

In June 2016, after the Referendum on UK's membership of the EU, Khan attracted some ridicule by announcing that London would remain in the EU even if the rest of the UK left.

Khan has ignored repeated calls for his resignation on grounds of incompetence and failure. In 2018, nearly 84,000 people signed a petition to impeach him and remove him as Mayor of London, but he ignored it. [6]

In 2018, more than half a million Londoners signed a petition against Khan's decision to withdraw the licence from the Uber taxi-service company. He was eventually pressured into reversing the decision. [7]

Life and Background

Born in Tooting, South London to a working-class British Pakistani family, Khan gained a degree in Law from the University of North London. He subsequently worked as a solicitor specialising in human rights, and chaired Liberty for three years. Joining Labour, Khan was a Councillor for the London Borough of Wandsworth from 1994 to 2006 before being elected MP for Tooting in 2005. Under the Labour government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown he was appointed Minister of State for Communities in 2008, later becoming Minister of State for Transport. A key ally of Labour leader Ed Miliband, he served in Miliband's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Shadow Lord Chancellor, and Shadow Minister for London.

Khan was elected Mayor of London in the 2016 mayoral election, succeeding Conservative Party Mayor Boris Johnson. He resigned as MP for Tooting on 9 May 2016.[8] His election as Mayor of London made him the city's first ethnic minority mayor, and the first Muslim to become mayor of a major Western capital.[9][10][11] Khan held the largest personal mandate of any politician in the history of the United Kingdom,[12] and the third largest personal mandate in Europe.[13] As mayor he introduced reforms to limit charges on London's public transport, backed airport expansion, and focused on uniting the city's varied communities. He was a vocal supporter of the unsuccessful Britain Stronger in Europe campaign to retain UK membership of the European Union.

Khan's work in support of multiculturalism has been praised by supporters of interfaith dialogue, while opponents have criticised his willingness to "share a platform" with fundamentalist Islamic clerics, mainly from his time as a constituency MP in Tooting. His work to integrate Muslim communities and some Islamic values into British society has seen him receive security threats from both Islamist and far-right activists. He favors further immigration to the UK from around the world, but accepts the need for annual limits.

Early life

Khan was born in 1970 in London to a family of Pakistani immigrants with eight children.[14] His father, Amanullah Khan, worked as a bus driver and his mother as a seamstress. He grew up in a council flat on the Henry Prince Estate in Earlsfield, and attended Fircroft Primary School and Ernest Bevin College, before entering the University of North London to study law.

He was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of North London, and a former Governor of South Thames FE College. Vice-Chairman of the Legal Action Group (LAG), Khan also served as Chairman of the civil liberties pressure group Liberty (NCCL) for three years.

Legal career

Before entering the House of Commons in 2005, Khan practised as a human rights solicitor.

He completed the Law Society finals at the College of Law in Guildford. From 1994 to 1997, he was employed as a trainee solicitor and assistant solicitor and from 1997 to 2005, he served as a partner in the firm Christian Khan with Louise Christian.[15]

During his legal career specialised in actions against the police, employment and discrimination law, judicial reviews, inquests and crime, and was involved in a number of landmark cases including the following:

  • Bubbins vs The United Kingdom (European Court of Human Rights – shooting of an unarmed individual by police marksmen)[16]
  • HSU and Thompson v Met Police (wrongful arrest/police damages)[17]
  • Reeves v Met Police (duty of care to prisoners)[18]
  • Murray v CAB (discrimination)[19]
  • Ahmed v University of Oxford (racial discrimination against a student)[20]
  • Dr Jadhav v Secretary of State for Health (racial discrimination in the employment of Indian doctors by the health service)[21]
  • CI Logan v Met Police (racial discrimination)[22]
  • Supt Dizaei v Met Police (police damages, discrimination)[23]
  • Inquest into the death of David Rocky Bennett (use of restraints)[24]
  • Lead solicitor on Mayday demonstration 2001 test case litigation (Human Rights Act)[25]
  • Farakhan v Home Secretary (Human Rights Act)[26]
  • In February 2000, Khan represented a group of Kurdish actors who were arrested by Metropolitan Police during a rehearsal of the Harold Pinter play Mountain Language', securing £150,000 in damages for the group for wrongful arrest and the trauma caused by their arrest.[27]
  • McDowell and Taylor v Met Police: Leroy McDowell and his friend Wayne Taylor, who both suffer from the blood disorder sickle cell anaemia, successfully sued the Metropolitan Police for assault and false imprisonment.[28]

Political career

Councillor

Khan represented Tooting as a Councillor for the London Borough of Wandsworth from 1994 to 2006, and was granted the title of Honorary Alderman of Wandsworth upon his retirement from local politics.

Member of Parliament

In 2003, Tooting Constituency Labour Party decided to open its parliamentary selection to all interested candidates, including the incumbent MP since 1974, Tom Cox. This prompted Cox, then in his mid-70s, to announce his retirement rather than risk de-selection. In the subsequent selection contest, Khan beat five other local candidates to become Labour's candidate for the seat. He was elected to Parliament at the 2005 general election.

Khan was awarded the "Newcomer of the Year Award" at the 2005 Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards "for the tough-mindedness and clarity with which he has spoken about the very difficult issues of Islamic terror".[29] In August 2006, he was a signatory of an open letter to Tony Blair criticising UK foreign policy.[30]

Khan had to repay £500 in expenses in 2007 in relation to a newsletter sent to constituents featuring a 'Labour rose', which was deemed to be unduly prominent. While the content of the newsletter was not deemed to be party political, the rose logo was found to be unduly prominent which may have had the effect of promoting a political party. There was no suggestion that Khan had deliberately or dishonestly compiled his expenses claims, which were not explicitly disallowed under the rules at that time. The rules were retrospectively changed disallowing the claim, which had previously been approved by the House of Commons authorities.[31][32]

On 3 February 2008, The Sunday Times[33] claimed that a conversation between Khan and prisoner Babar Ahmad – a friend and constituent – at Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes had been bugged by the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch.[34] An inquiry was launched by Justice Secretary Jack Straw.[34] There was some concern that the bugging contravened the Wilson Doctrine that police should not bug MPs. The report concluded that the doctrine did not apply because it was ordered by a police officer and not an MP.[35]

In 2010, Khan was re-elected as the MP for Tooting despite a swing against his party of 3.6% and a halving of his previous majority. In the subsequent Labour leadership election Khan was an early backer of Ed Miliband, becoming his campaign manager.[36] Khan masterminded Miliband's shock win over his elder brother David, and was tipped as a future rising star of the Labour Party, jumping 82 places in one year to 16th in The Daily Telegraph's 'top 100 most influential left-wingers' poll'.

In April 2010 it was revealed that Khan had repaid wrongly-claimed expenses on two occasions, when literature was sent to his constituents. The first incident concerned letters sent out before the 2010 General Election which were ruled to have the "unintentional effect of promoting his return to office", the second a £2,550 repayment for Christmas, Eid, and birthday cards for constituents, dating back to 2006.[37] Under House of Commons rules, pre-paid envelopes and official stationery can only be used for official parliamentary business.[38][39][40] Khan's claim for the greetings cards was initially rejected, but he presented a new invoice no longer identifying the nature of the claim, and this was accepted. Khan attributed the improper claim for the cards to "inexperience" and human error and apologised for breaking the expenses rules.[41][42]

At the 2015 general election, Khan was returned for a third term as MP for Tooting, defeating his Conservative rival by 2,842 votes.[43] He was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[44]

Government

Khan speaking in 2011

Following Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Cabinet reshuffle of 3 October 2008, Khan was appointed Minister of State for Communities, replacing Parmjit Dhanda, and becoming the second Muslim to serve in the UK Government. Before the House of Commons in January 2009, Khan criticised the Pope for the rehabilitation of Bishop Richard Williamson following his remarks about the Holocaust, a move he described as "highly unsavoury" and of "great concern".[45]

In 2009, he became the first Muslim to attend Cabinet upon his appointment as Minister of State for Transport.[46] In what was believed to be a first for an MP, Khan used his Twitter account to self-announce his promotion as Transport Secretary.[47]

In March 2010, Khan publicly stated that for a second successive year he would not be taking a pay rise as an MP or Minister, declaring "At a time when many people in Tooting and throughout the country are having to accept pay freezes I don't think it's appropriate for MPs to accept a pay rise."[48] For his first fifteen months' service in HM Government, he chose not to draw a ministerial incremental salary, having made sufficient money as a lawyer.

Shadow Cabinet

In the wake of Labour's 2010 election defeat, Acting Leader Harriet Harman appointed Khan Shadow Secretary of State for Transport.[49]

After running Ed Miliband's successful leadership campaign, Khan was previously rewarded with the senior roles of Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Justice Secretary. He was advanced as Shadow Minister for London, in addition to his other responsibilities, in 2013.

He is regularly named among the Top 100 London politicians in The London Evening Standard's annual poll of the 1,000 most influential Londoners[50] and is an Ambassador for Mosaic[disambiguation needed], an initiative set up by Prince Charles.

London mayor

The turnout in the London Mayoral election in 2016 was only 45.3%. Sadiq Khan got only 44% of the first round votes. So only about 21% of Londoners actually chose him as their Mayor. He was elected on second-choice votes.[51]

In November 2015 Sadiq Khan made a promise to freeze all London’s Tube, train and bus fares for four years if elected Mayor. This was a significant vote-winner. [52] However, within a few months of coming into office, he allowed prices to rise.[53][54]

He favored clamping down on foreign property investors,[55] and proposed the establishment of "London living rent" restrictions and a not-for-profit lettings agency that would somehow undercut commercial operators to ease the high cost of renting in the city.[56] He also called for house building on land owned by Transport for London, insisting that at least 50% of those constructed should be "genuinely affordable".[57]

Despite his Muslim beliefs, Khan declared his support for London's vocal LGBT movement, knowing that do otherwise would invite a storm of bullying and abuse. [58] He said that he would have "zero tolerance for anti-Semitism".[59]

He condemned Islamic extremism and the Islamophobia that British Muslims allegedly faced. Goldsmith's Conservative campaign—which was orchestrated by Lynton Crosby's company[60]—emphasised connections between Khan and Corbyn[60] and portrayed him as an apologist for, or even sympathiser with, Islamic extremism.[61] Goldsmith's campaign material referred to Khan as "radical and divisive".[60]

In office

Though a small percentage of all media outlets, right-wing commentators reacted with concern at his election.[62] The patriotic party Britain First issued a press statement declaring Khan a Muslim "occupier" engaged in entryism and threatened protests where he "lives, works and prays".[63]

Khan was officially sworn in as Mayor in a multi-faith ceremony held in Southwark Cathedral the following day.[12] His first act as mayor was his appearance at a Holocaust memorial ceremony in a rugby stadium in North London,[64] although due to delays with the results of the election, he only officially took office on 9 May.[65] In his first major interview upon being elected, he emphasised the need for Labour to do more to win-over those who did not normally vote for the party, a statement seen as a criticism of Corbyn's leadership.[66]

Mayoralty

In the buildup to the referendum on the UK's continuing membership of the European Union (EU), Khan was a vocal supporter of the 'Remain' camp.[67] He agreed to attend a Britain Stronger in Europe campaign event with the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to demonstrate cross-party support for remaining within the EU,[68][69] for which he was criticised by Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who claimed that sharing a platform with the Conservatives "discredits us".[70] After the murder of MP Jo Cox during the campaign, Khan called for the country to "pause and reflect" on the manner in which the Leave and Remain camps had been approaching the debate, stating that it had been marred by a "climate of hatred, of poison, of negativity, of cynicism".[71] Following the success of the 'Leave' vote, Khan insisted that all EU citizens living in London were welcome in the city and that he was grateful for the contribution that they made to it.[72][73] He endorsed the Metropolitan Police's 'We Stand Together' campaign to combat the rise in racial abuse following the referendum,[74] and later backed the 'London is Open' campaign to encourage businesses, artists, and performers to continue coming to the city despite Brexit.[75]

While fasting for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2016, Khan declared that he would use the period as an opportunity to help "break down the mystique and suspicion" surrounding Islam in Britain and help to "get out there and build bridges" between communities, organising iftars to be held at synagogues, churches, and mosques.[76][77] He then appeared at a Trafalgar Square celebration of Eid al-Fitr, endorsing religious freedom and lambasting "criminals who do bad things and use the name of Islam to justify what they do".[78] Following the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Khan attended a vigil in Old Compton Street, Soho, and insisted that he would "will do everything in [his] power to ensure that LGBT Londoners feel safe in every part of our city";[79] later that month he marched in the LGBT Pride London parade.[80]

In August 2016, Khan declared his support for Owen Smith's bid to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader. Although describing him as a "principled Labour man", Khan said that Corbyn had failed to gain popularity with the electorate and that Labour would not win a general election under Corbyn's leadership.[81]

Transport and housing policies

On transport, Khan immediately announced the introduction of a "Hopper" bus ticket which would allow a passenger to take two bus journeys within an hour for the price of one; it was intended to benefit those on low incomes most.[82] In June, Khan announced that his electoral pledge to prevent transport fare rises would only apply to "single fares" and pay as you go fares, and not daily, monthly, weekly, or yearly railcards; he was widely criticised for this, including by the Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, who accused him of having broken his promise.[83][84] In June 2016 he ordered TfL to ban any advertising on its network that was deemed to engage in body shaming and the demeaning of women.[85] In July he urged the government to allow TfL to take control of the failing Southern rail service,[86][87] and in August launched the 24-hour Underground service on Fridays and Saturdays, an idea initially proposed by Johnson two years previously.[88]

In his first weeks as Mayor, Khan criticised foreign investors for treating homes in London as "gold bricks for investment", instead urging them to invest in the construction of "affordable homes" for Londoners through a new agency, Homes for Londoners, which would be funded by both public and private money.[89] However, in contrast to a pre-election statement, he revealed that he no longer supported rent freezes in the city.[90] Insisting that he would "oppose building on the Green Belt, which is now even more important than when it was created", Khan vetoed the construction of a football stadium and two blocks of flats on Green Belt land in Chislehurst, after the plan had already been supported by Bromley Council.[91]

Khan backed expansion of London City Airport, removing the block on this instituted by Johnson's administration; environmentalist campaigners like Siân Berry stated that this was a breach of Khan's pledge to be London's "greenest ever" mayor.[92] Opposing expansion at Heathrow Airport, he urged Prime Minister Theresa May to instead support expansion at Gatwick Airport, stating that to do so would bring "substantial economic benefits" to London.[93]

Khan launched a "No Nights Sleeping Rough" taskforce to tackle youth homelessness in London in October 2016.[94]

Air pollution

Khan has called air pollution “the biggest public health emergency of a generation.”[95] In April 2017, Khan announced plans to clean up London's air by establishing an "ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez)" across London that would charge owners of the most polluting cars with a fine between £3 or £12.50 per day.[96] The zone is planned to be introduced in 2019.[96]

Khan criticised Great Britain's government in June 2017 for its lack of drive in improving general air quality.[97] He stated that the government’s action plan on the issue lacked “serious detail, fails to tackle all emission sources, such as from buildings, construction or the river, and does not utilise the government’s full resources and powers”, reflecting its low priorisation of the issue in the past.[97]

In September, he announced that the first 50 air quality audits for primary schools in the worst-polluted areas of the city had been launched with the objective to reduce air pollution around public schools.[98] The audits will continue until the end of 2017, with reports being published in 2018.[98][95]

Khan's politics

Hill stated that Khan was "savvy, streetwise and not averse to a scrap",[99] and described Khan as having a "joshing, livewire off-stage personality" which differed from the formal image he often projected while onstage.[100] Another rival in the 2016 Mayoral campaign, George Galloway of the Respect Party, referred to Khan as a "flip-flop merchant" and a "product of the Blairite machine".[101]

Writing for The Spectator, the political commentator Nick Cohen described Khan as a centre-left social democrat,[102] while the journalist Amol Rajan termed him "a torch-bearer for the social democratic wing" of the Labour Party.[103] The BBC describe Khan as being located on the party's soft left.[104] Conversely, in an article for Al Jazeera, the Marxist commentator Richard Seymour described Khan as a centrist,[105] while Matt Wrack, the General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, characterised Khan as belonging to "that part of the Labour Party that was in government under Blair and Brown".[106]

The journalist Dave Hill described Khan as a social liberal,[107] and Khan has self-described as a "proud feminist".[107] Khan voted in favour of the same-sex marriage equality bill.[108][109]

His multicultural politics were praised by both the political left and the Muslim community. In January 2013 and 2015, Khan was nominated for the Politician of the Year Award at the British Muslim Awards.[110] He later won the award in February 2016.[111] Not all British Muslims have however supported him; some of the supporters of Lutfur Rahman—whom Khan opposed—claimed that Khan did not do enough for Muslims in London.[112] However, Khan is a practising Muslim,[113][114][115] who observes the fast during Ramadan,[112] and regularly attends Al-Muzzammil Mosque in Tooting.[114] Writing in The Guardian, the journalist Dave Hill wrote sympathetically about both Islam and Khan, whom he called "a moderate, socially liberal Muslim"[78] - "the people who are 'representing' the Islamic faith aren't representative, they're angry men with beards. And that is not what Islam is about."[58]

Khan served as chairman of the socialist Fabian Society,[116] remaining on its Executive Committee. In 2009, he won the Jenny Jeger Award (Best Fabian Pamphlet) for his writing "Fairness not Favours: How to re-connect with British Muslims".[117][118]

Personal life

Khan married Saadiya Ahmed, a fellow solicitor, in 1994 and has two daughters, Anisah (born 1999) and Ammarah (born 2001).[119][120] He has raised both daughters in the Islamic faith.[121]

Khan used to perform stand-up comedy before running for Mayor, including a ten-minute money-raising Stand Up for Labour routine. Comedian Arthur Smith stated that Khan could become a "good club-level comedian one day".[122]

Criticism

Personal life

Khan married Saadiya Ahmed in 1994 and has two daughters. A keen follower of sport, he supports Liverpool FC in football and Surrey County Cricket Club in cricket.

He serves as a Governor of Fircroft School and of Gatton School, both in Tooting.

Khan also served as Chairman of the Fabian Society,[123] remaining on its Executive Committee. In 2009 he won the prestigious Jenny Jeger Award (Best Fabian Pamphlet) for his writing "Fairness not Favours: How to re-connect with British Muslims". He also edited the Fabian Essay Collection Our London: the Capital beyond 2015.

Khan was received sympathetically for declaring, in 2013, he had received death threats for voting in favour of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill.[124]

See also

References

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External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tom Cox
Member of Parliament
for Tooting

2005–present
Incumbent
Political offices
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Parmjit Dhanda
Minister of State for Communities
2008–2009
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Shahid Malik
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Minister of State for Transport
2009–2010
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Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
2010
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Maria Eagle
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