Sadiq Khan wins historic third term as London mayor

The result follows a difficult campaign for both Labour and the Conservatives

Zoe Grunewald,Jabed Ahmed
Saturday 04 May 2024 18:45 BST
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Moment Britain First London mayoral candidate interrupts Sadiq Khan’s victory speech

Sadiq Khan has been re-elected for a historic third term as the Mayor of London.

Mr Khan secured his third term in office with just over 1,088,000 votes, a majority of some 275,000 over Conservative rival Susan Hall, who secured just under 813,000 votes. This means that the Labour politician received 43.8 per cent of the voter share to Ms Hall’s 32.7 per cent. 

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer had signalled he was confident of Mr Khan’s victory before declarations commenced, as he counted mayoral victories for his party in Liverpool, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and in Greater Manchester where Andy Burnham returned to power.

Murmurs on Friday evening suggested the result may be closer than initially thought, as Mr Khan’s majority was expected to be hit by dissatisfaction with the Ulez low-pollution scheme and the Labour party’s stance on Gaza.

Yet Mr Khan has achieved a higher majority than in 2021, equating to a 3.2 per cent swing from Conservative to Labour.

The Tory candidate’s campaign had also been mired by controversy amid allegations of islamophobia.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting provoked ire when he said that a win for Ms Hall and the Conservatives is “a win for racists, white supremacists and Islamophobes the world over.”

The result follows a difficult campaign for both Labour and the Conservatives
The result follows a difficult campaign for both Labour and the Conservatives (Jeff Moore/PA Wire)

Mr Streeting was referring to Ms Hall joining a Facebook group that contained Islamophobic hate speech and abusive comments about her opponent.

Mr Khan was met with some boos as he took to the stage after his re-election was announced.

Speaking in his victory speech at City Hall, Mr Khan said: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you London.”

At that point, the Britain First candidate interrupted and chanted “Khan killed London”.

Mr Khan’s victory speech continued: “We faced a campaign of non-stop negativity, but I couldn’t be more proud that we answered the fearmongering with facts, hate with hope, and attempts to divide with efforts to unite.

“We ran a campaign that was in keeping with the spirit and values of this great city, a city that regards our diversity not as a weakness, but as an almighty strength – and one that rejects right hard-wing populism and looks forward, not back.

“It’s truly an honour to be re-elected for a third term, and do so with a record level of support from Londoners, with an increased margin of victory.”

Re-elected Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stands with other mayoral candidates
Re-elected Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stands with other mayoral candidates (AFP via Getty Images)

The Labour incumbent thanked his family for their support, but apologised for them facing “protests by our home” and “threats” after securing a third term as Mayor of London.

“Some of the stuff on social media, the protests by our home, the threats. It’s upsetting, it’s frightening and it’s wrong. I’m truly sorry for putting you through this,” he added.

“But I also know, you share my belief as hard as it can be sometimes, this work is worth doing because it means being able to give to other families the same life-changing opportunities that this wonderful city has extended to ours. I love you all so much.”

He ended by asking prime minister Rishi Sunak to call a general election.

“For the last eight years, London has been swimming against the tide of a Tory government, and now, with a Labour Party that’s ready to govern again under Keir Starmer, it’s time for Rishi Sunak to give the public a choice,” he said. “A general election will not just pave the path to a new direction for our country, but it will make bold action Londoners want to see a reality.”

(Getty Images)

The Conservative’s Susan Hall spoke after Mr Khan, saying he should stop “patronising” people who care about London.

“I’d like to congratulate all my fellow mayoral candidates and congratulate Sadiq on his victory,” she said.

“Spending a year campaigning for this election has been an honour and a privilege. I have loved speaking to Londoners about the things that matter to them.

“The thing that matters the most, and to me, is reforming the Met and making London safe again. I hope Sadiq makes this his top priority.

“He owes it to the families of those thousands of people who have lost lives to knife crime under his mayoralty.

“And I hope too that he stops patronising people, like me, who care. This isn’t an episode of The Wire, this is real life on his watch.”

The Conservative’s Susan Hall gives her speech at City Hall
The Conservative’s Susan Hall gives her speech at City Hall (Jeff Moore/PA Wire)

It comes as Rishi Sunak suffered a terrible first day of council election results with the prime minister now nervously waiting on the result from the West Midlands mayoral contest.

Yet despite the disappointing results, plans of a coup have failed to materialise with one senior MP telling the Independent: “I think it is over. Rishi will lead us into the next election.”

Election expert Sir John Curtice suggested the final outcome could be the party’s worst performance for 40 years.

Lord Ben Houchen’s re-election on Teesside was a crumb of comfort for the Conservatives on a dreadful night, just months from a general election.

Attention now turns to the mayoral contest in the West Midlands, where a win for Tory Andy Street could help stop leadership plot from rebel MPs.

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