London's new mayor spurns embattled Labour leader

Sadiq Khan distances himself from Corbyn, hints that anti-Semitism row within party is crippling its electoral prospects.

David Rosenberg ,

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan

As embattled Labour UK leader Jeremy Corbyn faces an ongoing scandal over his handling of anti-Semitism within his party, the victory of Labour candidate Sadiq Khan in London’s mayoral election last week has done little to ameliorate his situation.

Seen as the silver lining in an otherwise poor showing in Thursday’s elections, observers had predicted that Khan’s win in London would boost Corbyn, strengthening his position within Labour as rivals questioned his leadership and fitness as the party’s standard-bearer.

But since Thursday’s election, Khan has spurned Corbyn, refusing photo ops with the party chief and even leveling thinly-veiled criticisms against him.

When Corbyn attended Khan’s victory party early Saturday morning, the two notably were not photographed together, fueling speculation that Khan was snubbing the Labour leader.

Later on Saturday, Corbyn was noticeably absent from Khan’s inauguration, further evidence of what some have described as growing hostility between the two.

Khan also appeared to criticize Corbyn’s leadership of the party during an interview with the Observer, saying that the party’s lurch to the left had resigned it to permanent minority status.

“We will never be trusted to govern unless we reach out and engage with all voters. Labour has to be a big tent that appeals to everyone – not just its own activists.”

In what appears to be a subtle reference to the party’s ongoing anti-Semitism row and Corbyn’s apparent failure to rein in controversial statements by party members, Khan claimed that by alienating “particular groups”, the party was relegating itself to a narrow slice of the electorate.

“Campaigns that deliberately turn their back on particular groups are doomed to fail. Just like in London, so-called natural Labour voters alone will never be enough to win a general election. We must be able to persuade people who previously voted Conservative that Labour can be trusted with the economy and security as well as improving public services and creating a fairer society.”