Sadiq Khan elected Mayor of London for the third time

Sadiq Khan elected Mayor of London for the third time
Sadiq Khan elected Mayor of London for the third time

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan during a press conference on April 15.

Henry Nicholls/AFP

The 53-year-old elected official, son of a bus driver, won the London town hall for the first time in 2016. He then became the first Muslim to lead a Western capital. With this third mandate, won largely against his conservative opponent Susan Hall, he beats in terms of longevity his predecessor, the conservative Boris Johnson, elected twice as mayor of London.

This time, he promised a city that was “fairer, safer, greener for everyone.” He wants to expand his free lunch program for public school children. He, who grew up in social housing, is committed to ensuring that 40,000 new social housing units are built. He has promised to take action to ensure there are no more homeless people in London by 2030.

Sadiq Khan’s opponents accuse him of having extended last year to greater London the tax on polluting vehicles, introduced in 2015 by Boris Johnson. The Conservatives jumped at the opportunity, accusing Sadiq Khan of having little regard for Londoners suffering from the cost of living crisis.

Symbol of a diverse England

The attacks against him often got out of hand. Former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Lee Anderson claimed in February that Islamists had “taken control” of Sadiq Khan. “He gave our capital to his cronies,” said the MP who has since joined the far-right Reform UK party.

A few years earlier, in 2019, former US President Donald Trump targeted him during a wave of jihadist attacks in London, and called him a “national shame” and a “total loser”. “Only one of us is a loser, and it’s not me,” replied Sadiq Khan.

The mayor embodies one of the success stories that London, a world city proud of its diversity, where 46% of residents identify as Asian, black, mixed or “other”, likes. He never misses an opportunity to reflect on his humble origins and readily talks about the fact that he observes the Ramadan fast, does not drink alcohol and tries to say his prayers every day.

Sadiq Khan was born on October 8, 1970 into a Pakistani family who had recently immigrated to the United Kingdom. He grew up on a social housing estate in Tooting, a working-class area of ​​south London, with six brothers and a sister. He attended the local public high school, not exactly famous, and the University of North London. At 15, he joined the Labor Party when Margaret Thatcher was in power.

In 2005, he abandoned his career as a lawyer specializing in human rights to get elected as a deputy. Three years later, Gordon Brown offered him the post of Minister for Communities, then that of Transport the following year. He becomes the first Muslim to sit in the cabinet of a British Prime Minister.

When Buckingham Palace asked him which Bible he wanted to swear on, he offered to bring his Koran. Sadiq Khan left his copy at the palace, hoping that it will be useful “for the next one”.

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