Muslim strong favourite for London mayor after racially charged campaign, by William James.
Sadiq Khan of opposition Labour Party is the strong favourite to win London’s mayoral election on Thursday after a contest marked by religious tensions and accusations of racism.
Polls show Khan, the son of a bus driver, is as much as 20 percentage points ahead of rival Conservative Zac Goldsmith in the race to run one of the world’s top financial centres. If he wins, he will succeed current Conservative mayor Boris Johnson to become the first Muslim to head a major Western capital.
London’s population of 8.6 million is among the most diverse in the world and it is rare for identity politics to enter British campaigning.
Antisemitism enters the race:
Last week the campaigning took a new twist as Kahn’s party was accused of failing to stamp out anti-Semitism in its ranks amid a row over comments by another lawmaker on her Facebook account saying that Israel should be moved to the United States.
Khan condemned the comment … He said on Sunday the anti-Semitism row, fuelled by comments made by Livingstone linking Hitler with Zionism, could hit his chances in the election. …
The left wing of the party — and notably its current leader Jeremy Corbyn — have long been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and it is not the first time Labour has faced accusations that this had led to actual anti-Semitism.
We have noted before that the conservative Goldsmith is a weak candidate.