LONDON: Labor lawmaker Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London yesterday, beating the ruling Conservatives’ candidate Zac Goldsmith to the coveted position, Sky News reported. The official announcement was expected later and Sky based the report on its own calculations.
The position of London mayor provides an influential platform to lobby the government in the interests of London’s 8.6 million residents. Thus London became the first EU capital with a Muslim mayor with the election of Khan in elections that also saw Labor party suffer nationwide setbacks.
The race to replace Boris Johnson pitched two very different candidates against each other-Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver and a seamstress, against Goldsmith, whose father was a wealthy financier. A Khan victory would offer some cheer for embattled Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn after local election losses elsewhere in England failed to dispel questions over the veteran socialist’s leadership.
Corbyn, who has faced opposition from centrists in his party since becoming leader last year, insisted his party had “hung on” and surpassed expectations. “All across England last night we were getting predictions that we were going to lose councils. We didn’t,” he said. “We hung on and we grew support in a lot of places.” With results in from 110 out of 124 councils, Labor had 55, down one, and 1,176 seats, down 25.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives had control of an unchanged 30 councils and 650 seats, down 23. A BBC projection suggested that Labor would win 31 percent of the vote share nationally compared to 30 percent for the Conservatives. — Agencies