Khan’s rise from bus driver’s son to mayor


Sadiq Khan’s journey from bus driver’s son to London’s first Muslim mayor started in Tooting and made a stop at Westminster before arriving at his new City Hall headquarters.

The 45-year-old is the proud son of a Pakistani immigrant who drove the capital’s big red beasts for 25 years, and he poked fun at himself during his campaign for mentioning the fact a lot.

His past is a story of social mobility; he grew up on a Tooting housing estate and was state-educated locally before becoming a human rights lawyer with his own firm.

Starting out in local politics in the 1990s, the married father of two became London’s first Muslim MP when he was elected as the member for Tooting in 2005.

A stint in Gordon Brown’s short-lived administration followed, first as communities minister and then as transport minister – becoming the first Muslim to attend Cabinet.

After the Coalition victory in 2010, he became a member of Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet, first as shadow transport secretary and then as shadow justice secretary – a post he held until last year’s election defeat and Miliband’s resignation.

Following that loss, Khan earned the admiration and the opprobrium of his Labour colleagues when he nominated Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership campaign and sparking a chain of events that led the latter to lead the party.

Khan won the party nomination in September, comfortably defeating opponents including the Blairite former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell and current shadow international development minister Diane Abbott by scooping up significant backing from the influx of party activists thought to have been attracted by Mr Corbyn’s policies.

However, Khan’s mayoral bid would later see him distance himself from the party leader he nominated just months earlier as internal rows over the party’s direction developed.

His fight to win London’s top job was not straight-forward, coming after back-to-back victories for Conservative Boris Johnson in what is traditionally a Labour city, and he built a campaign based on issues including affordable housing and travel.

The campaign run by his only real rival, Tory Zac Goldsmith, attracted controversy after it tried to link him to extremists as he stood in a city hit by a deadly Islamist suicide terror attack just 11 years previously.

Prime Minister David Cameron got involved, accusing Mr Khan in the House of Commons of repeatedly appearing on platforms alongside Islamist extremists.

Mr Goldsmith’s campaign, run by Sir Lynton Crosby’s communications firm CTF Comms, came under fire from Labour and even from within the Tory Party for its negative campaigning and focus on Mr Khan’s Muslim heritage.

Last month, Mr Khan said he was determined to be “a mayor for all Londoners” and said he was “disappointed” that Mr Goldsmith had chosen to fight a campaign that he said was “negative (and) divisive and has become increasingly desperate”.

He told the Press Association: “I’m the only candidate who, when he first stood for Parliament, had extremists protesting against him outside mosques I had worshipped in all my life, because I was going to stand for what they called ‘man-made law’.

“I was called an apostate for wanting to be an MP. Extremists were telling people in Tooting, if you’re a Muslim and vote for me, you’re going to hell.

“I’m the only candidate who voted for same-sex marriage, equality, and had a fatwa against me, and had to discuss with my daughters police protection.

“Anybody who knows me and knows about me should be quite clear what my stance is in relation to these issues and I think to try to make political points out of what are serious issues is disappointing.”

Mr Khan was also one of the first Labour MPs to call for Ken Livingstone’s removal from the party last week over his controversial claim that Hitler supported Zionism, telling the Press Association that there should be “no place in the Labour Party for anyone with these views”.

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