David Cameron attacked for joining 'Islamophobic' campaign against Sadiq Khan

PM uses his platform at Prime Minister's Questions to repeat claims made by Zac Goldsmith

Jon Stone
Wednesday 20 April 2016 13:57 BST
Cameron 'concerned' about Khan

Labour MPs have hit out at David Cameron for lending his support to an “Islamophobic” campaign against their party’s Muslim candidate for Mayor of London.

David Cameron used his weekly platform at PMQs to echo attacks made by Zac Goldsmith against Sadiq Khan – which have prompted accusations the Tories’ campaign is “racist”.

Mr Khan has long campaigned against Islamic extremism and described it as “a cancer eating at the heart of our society”.

But the Tory campaign has sought to draw links between Mr Khan and extremist figures by repeatedly noting he has shared platforms with his local imam, Suliman Gani.

Mr Cameron said: “Suliman Gani – the honourable member for Tooting has appeared on a platform with him nine times. This man supports IS [the so-called Islamic State].

“They are shouting down this point because they don’t want to hear the truth. Anyone can make a mistake about who they appear on a platform with … but if you do it time after time after time it is right to question your judgment.”

The Prime Minister did not mention that Mr Goldsmith himself had his photograph taken with Mr Gani outside a Conservative party event, after being introduced.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna tore into Mr Cameron for the comments.

“So David Cameron has joined Zac Goldsmith's Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan. Utterly disgraceful,” he said.

“The PM’s comments seek to shift the London Mayoral campaign from housing and transport – on which Sadiq is winning – to religion. Appalling.

“[David Cameron] thinks it is a crime for Sadiq Khan to be a Muslim and have been a human rights lawyer.”

Labour MP Jo Cox added: “Shame on the Prime Minister for joining Zac Goldsmith's Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan. Disgraceful.”

Most polls suggest Mr Khan has a substantial lead over Tory candidate Mr Goldsmith in the race to become Mayor of London.

Mr Khan has pledged to freeze transport fares and use City Hall to directly build more affordable homes.

Mr Goldsmith is an opponent of Heathrow Airport expansion and has focused his campaign on Mr Khan’s character.

Other candidates include Sian Berry of the Green Party, Caroline Pidgeon of the Liberal Democrats, and Peter Whittle of Ukip.

Londoners will go to the polls on 5 May, the same day as the elections ot the London Assembly, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, and some local authorities.

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