Sadiq Khan (Labour) was sworn in as London’s first Muslim mayor on Saturday, having beaten Conservative billionaire Zac Goldsmith by a wide margin of 1,310,143 to 994,614 votes. It was a rare glimpse of sunshine for the Labour party, which has been enduring a string of defeats in both national and local elections over the past year, including a massive loss in local councils and in the Scottish parliament Thursday.
Mayor Khan, 46, was born in London to a working-class British Pakistani family. A Member of Parliament for Tooting since 2005 and a member of the Labour Party, he is a social democrat.
Jeremy Corbyn did not attend London’s Muslim mayor’s swearing-in ceremony. Khan had not supported Corbyn for the role of Labour party leader, voting instead for Andy Burnham. He distanced himself from Corbyn, and as mayoral candidate criticized Corbyn’s friendship with Hamas and Hezbollah, saying it gave Labour an “anti-Jewish” image. Khan also slammed Corbyn for not singing the national anthem last September. Corbyn, an anti-Royalist, stood in silence while God Save our Gracious Queen was played during a Battle of Britain remembrance ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral attended by the Prime Minister, Defense Secretary and military leaders. “He was very unwise. You are trying to be the British prime minister,” Khan told reporters at the time.
“I can’t quite believe the last 24 hours,” Khan told his supporters at his swearing-in ceremony at London’s Southwark Cathedral. “I’m determined to lead the most transparent, engaged and accessible administration London has ever seen, and to represent every single community and every single part of our city as mayor for Londoners,” he said.
Goldsmith, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron, repeatedly accused Khan of offering “platform, oxygen and cover” to religious and political extremists, including known anti-Semites such as Suliman Gani, a south London Islamic leader. Khan also attended a conference that was addressed by Yasser al-Siri, a convicted terrorist, and Sajeel Abu Ibrahim, a member of the now banned al-Muhajiroun group, which trained and activated the July 7, 2005 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan.