Friday, 3 December 2021

Sadiq Khan: London’s feisty mayor wins second term

London Mayor Sadiq Khan (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON (AFP) – London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who won re-election, has risen from humble roots to spar with prime ministers and presidents since taking charge of the British capital five years ago.

The 50-year-old politician from the main opposition Labour party, a former human rights lawyer brought up on a London public housing complex, won a second stint at City Hall with victory over Conservative rival Shaun Bailey.

This continues a remarkable journey for the Pakistani immigrant bus driver’s son, who became the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital when initially elected in 2016.

He has made a name for himself as a vocal critic of Brexit and successive Conservative prime ministers, including his mayoral predecessor Boris Johnson, as well as for a feud with former US president Donald Trump.

The pair became embroiled in an extraordinary war of words, after Khan criticised Trump’s controversial travel ban on people from certain Muslim countries.

In a series of bizarre attacks, Trump accused Khan of doing a “very bad job on terrorism” and called him a “stone cold loser” and a “national disgrace”.

The mayor in turn allowed an infamous blimp of Trump dressed as a baby in a nappy to fly above protests in Parliament Square during his 2018 visit to Britain.

“He once called me a stone cold loser. Only one of us is a loser, and it’s not me,” a typically combative Khan told AFP as he campaigned ahead of Thursday’s poll.

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