’s newly-elected Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan
, has accused British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative Party’s defeated mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith
of inciting ethnic divide to stop him from winning, a tactic khan said they had borrowed from US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In an article published on the Observer on Sunday, Khan said his Tory opponents resorted to Trump’s tactic of using Islamophobia to gain more support.
“They used fear and innuendo to try to turn different ethnic and religious groups against each other – something straight out of the Donald Trump playbook,” Sadiq Khan wrote in the Observer. “Londoners deserved better and I hope it’s something the Conservative party will never try to repeat.”
Trump’s campaign has been marked by controversial statements, including disparaging remarks about Muslims and calling for a ban on Muslims entering the US.
London’s first ever Muslim mayor argued that the landslide victory would have been impossible for Labour to achieve, had it not engaged with “all voters – regardless of their background, where they live or where they work.”
Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver and a seamstress, scored a resounding victory over Goldsmith, his Conservative rival and a billionaire, in the race for the mayoralty of the capital.
Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith (L) and Labour candidate Sadiq Khan take part in a Mayoral debate in central London, April 12, 2016. (AFP photo)
“I’m so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division,” Khan said Saturday after being sworn in.
The 45-year-old Member of Parliament (MP) was expected to win back City Hall for the Labour Party after eight years of Conservative rule, and at the end of an often bitter campaign during which Goldsmith has been accused of Islamophobia.
Goldsmith had accused Khan of “pandering to extremists” and providing them “oxygen.”
Cameron also joined Goldsmith in linking Khan to extremist groups and terror “sympathizers” such as Sulaiman Gani, a British Muslim cleric, who was accused by Cameron of being a Daesh (ISIL) supporter.
The Islamophobic campaign even enraged senior conservatives, including Mohammed Amin, chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum.
Additionally, Sayeeda Warsi, the former Tory co-chairman, said Goldsmith’s campaign was “appalling”, while Andrew Boff, the leader of the Conservatives in the London assembly, and Roger Evans, the deputy mayor to the outgoing Boris Johnson, raised concerns it could disrupt London’s community relations.