Global Independent Analytics

Labour's Khan becomes first Muslim mayor of London after bitter campaign

Sadiq Khan, the son of a bus driver, became London's first Muslim mayor on Friday, seeing off a Conservative challenger who attempted to link him to extremism and securing a much-needed victory for his opposition Labour Party.

William James and Elizabeth Piper report for Reuters: Londoners have elected the first Muslim mayor of any major Western city, after an unusually bitter campaign in which race and religion have proven ugly flashpoints.

Khan, a 45-year-old lawyer and member of Parliament, is the London-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and a practicing Muslim in a city where his co-religionists comprise about 12% of the population.

Elections were held across the United Kingdom on Thursday, for mayoral positions, local council seats, and parliamentary and assembly seats in Scotland and Wales.

The Scottish National Party -- which campaigned for Scotland to leave the UK in 2014 -- won more Scottish Parliament seats than any other party but failed to secure an outright majority. Labour plunged to third, behind the Conservatives -- a result that would have seemed unimaginable several years ago in the former Labour stronghold.

Labour retained its place as the largest party in Wales — like Scotland, a traditionally left-leaning part of the country— but the pro-Brexit, anti-immigration UK Independence Party picked up its first seats there.

The campaign took a particularly vicious turn when Goldsmith, trailing his rival in polls, penned a controversial column in Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper on May 1.

The Labour lawmaker replaces Conservative Boris Johnson, who has run the city of 8.6 million people for eight years. A top campaigner for Britain to leave the EU, Johnson is seen as a contender to succeed David Cameron as party leader and prime minister.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA

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