Defence Secretary Michael Fallon admits 'London is safe' under Sadiq Khan

'I’m hoping we can work with Sadiq Khan. Stuff gets said during elections, questions get posed,' says Mr Fallon

Charlie Cooper
Saturday 07 May 2016 12:24 BST
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Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence
Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence (EPA)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has been forced to retreat from his claim that Sadiq Khan is “unfit” to be London’s mayor, as the Conservative party faced a growing backlash over “divisive” negative campaigning in the mayoral election.

Mr Fallon admitted that London would be safe with Mr Khan as mayor, working with the Tory Government.

He had previously suggested Mr Khan and Labour “cannot be trusted” with London’s security, and suggested Mr Khan’s supposed links with Islamist extremists compromised his ability to keep the capital safe from Paris-style terror attacks.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the morning after Mr Khan’s resounding victory, Mr Fallon said the Government was looking forward to working with the new mayor.

“I’m hoping we can work with Sadiq Khan,” he said. “Stuff gets said during elections, questions get posed.”

Pressed over his previous comments, he said Mr Khan had answered the questions put to him during the campaign and admitted: “London is safe with a Conservative government working with the new mayor of London”.

He said the nature of the campaign had been part of the “rough and tumble of politics”.

But he repeated the claim, also made by the Prime Minister, that the Tooting imam Suliman Ghani, who has appeared on platforms alongside Tooting MP Mr Khan, supports Isis.

2016 Election results round-up

The allegation has been vehemently denied by Mr Ghani, who has demanded an apology and retraction.

Mr Ghani has also said that in the past he has campaigned for Conservative council candidates.

Mr Khan beat Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith by a total of 315,529 votes when the second preference votes were counted and reallocated. He received 1,310,143 votes, higher than for any previous London Mayor. This amounted to 57 per cent of the total final votes to Mr Goldsmith's 43 per cent (994,614 votes). Turnout was 45.6 per cent, up from 38 per cent in 2012.

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