Residents in the British capital London will go to the polls Thursday to elect a new mayor, in a bitterly fought election that has exposed tensions and divisions within UK
Surveys show the Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, a former government minister, poised to defeat Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith, the environmentalist scion of a billionaire businessman.
Khan’s predicted victory over Goldsmith comes after a campaign marred by accusations of smears related to Khan’s Muslim faith and now, a worsening feud in the Labour Party over anti-Semitism.
Ken Livingstone, Labour’s last mayor of London, was suspended from the party last week after defending a Member of Parliament(MP) who shared an anti-Semitic meme on her Facebook page.
In lending support to Naz Shah, Livingstone claimed that Hitler had been a Zionist before he “went mad,” and then repeatedly refused to retract or apologize for his remarks.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — like Livingstone, a product of Labour’s far Left — was accused of failing to take a strong enough stand against anti-Semitism.
Among his critics was Khan, who moved to distance himself from Corbyn and his party over the weekend. “I am an advocate of the Labour leadership … actually receiving some training on this stuff as clearly they don’t understand what racism is, and there is no hierarchy when it comes to racism,” he told The Observer. “There are too many examples in our party of people having these views, and action does not appear to have been taken quickly enough.”
The affair threatens to widen the rift between the party’s establishment and its left wing, already yawning in the wake of Corbyn’s elevation from the party’s margins to its leader last year.