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Sadiq Khan sworn-in as London mayor; 1st Muslim to occupy post

Sadiq Khan Was Today Sworn-in As London’s Mayor After He Won By A Record Margin To Become The First Muslim To Occupy The Top Post As He Hailed His Victory As A Triumph Of “hope Over Fear And Unity Over Division.' Khan, The Son Of A Pakistani Bus Driver, Beat Conservative Zac Goldsmith With 57 Per Cent Votes—the Largest Mandate Of Any British Politician In History— Marking The Return Of Labour Rule To The UK Capital After Eight Years.

PTI | Updated on: 07 May 2016, 08:00:13 PM

London:

Sadiq Khan was today sworn-in as London’s mayor after he won by a record margin to become the first Muslim to occupy the top post as he hailed his victory as a triumph of “hope over fear and unity over division.” Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, beat Conservative Zac Goldsmith with 57 per cent votes—the largest mandate of any British politician in history— marking the return of Labour rule to the UK capital after eight years.

Khan was officially sworn-in as the new mayor of London at a multi-faith ceremony in Southwark Cathedral here.

The first Muslim mayor of the British capital received a standing ovation as he walked into the hall after he won 1,310,143 votes to beat his nearest Conservative rival Goldsmith.

“Good morning. My name is Sadiq Khan and I’m the mayor of London. I will be a mayor for all Londoners,” he said, before signing his declaration of office.

The 45-year-old is the third person to become the elected mayor of London, after fellow Labour politician Ken Livingstone and Conservative Boris Johnson.

In his victory speech last night at City Hall, his new office, Khan described London as the “greatest city in the world” and said he had never imagined that “someone like me could be elected as mayor of London”.

“Thank you London. London is the greatest city in the world. I am so proud of our city. I am deeply humbled by the hope and trust you have placed in me today. I want every single Londoner to get the opportunities that our city gave to me and my family,” Khan said.

“The opportunities, not just to survive but to thrive,” he said.

Making a direct reference to the divisive campaign run by Goldsmith’s team, which has been criticised for its attempts to link Khan with extremist personalities, he said, “This election was not without controversy and I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”

“I hope that we will never be offered such a stark choice again. Fear doesn’t make us safer, it only makes us weaker, and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city,” he said.

Khan received 57 per cent of the total votes in the so-called ‘Super Thursday’ elections , compared to Goldsmith’s 994,614, after the capital had its largest ever voting turnout at 45.6 per cent.

Khan’s win seemed inevitable as all first preference votes were counted, giving him a 46 per cent vote share, nine points ahead of Goldsmith.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had tweeted his congratulations to Khan way before the formal announcement, “Can’t wait to work with you to create a London that is fair for all! #YesWeKhan.”

The new mayor, who succeeds Boris Johnson, has control over four major policy areas in London—transport, policing, environment, and housing and planning—under the London Assembly’s scrutiny.

Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said,”I look forward to working with him, and all London’s new and re-elected Assembly members, to continue transforming the Met

(Metropolitan Police) to keep London one of the safest capitals in the world.”

Outgoing mayor Boris Johnson said, “Many congratulations to Sadiq on securing a huge mandate to do the best job in British politics. I wish him every possible success.”

Britain’s senior-most Muslim Cabinet minister, also of Pakistani-origin, business secretary Sajid Javid tweeted, ”From one son of a Pakistani bus driver to another, congratulations”.

Khan is a former human rights lawyer and an MP from Tooting, east London, since 2005.

A prominent figure in former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Cabinet, he had resigned from the shadow Cabinet last year to launch his campaign to replace Johnson—whose second and final term as London mayor came to an end today.

Khan relied mainly on his solid working class roots and upbringing on a London council housing estate as strong credentials against Goldsmith’s more privileged background.

Oxford-educated Goldsmith, the son of late billionaire Sir James Goldsmith and brother of Jemima Khan, trailed through most of the mayoral campaign—attributed by some to his camp’s failed attempts to link Khan with extremist personalities.

Jemima, former wife of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, tweeted as the results became clear:

“Sad that Zac’s campaign did not reflect who I know him to be -- an eco friendly, independent-minded politician with integrity.”

Khan’s personal triumph comes as a major boost for the Labour party, which had a rather poor showing in the overall polls, being relegated to third place in Scotland and just about holding on to its local council seats in London.

This week’s polls were seen as the single-largest test of political opinion before the next general election, which is scheduled for 2020.

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First Published : 07 May 2016, 07:57:00 PM

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