EU referendum: Sadiq Khan breaks 19-hour Ramadan fast on stage during Wembley debate

The Summer Solstice meant Mr Khan had to fast until 9.24pm

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 22 June 2016 12:42 BST
Sadiq Khan: 'Not project fear - project hate'

The lunar calendar is unlikely to have been a consideration in the planning of the BBC’s EU debate in Wembley Stadium last night, but it certainly made its effects felt on one of the stars of the evening, London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast during daylight hours, moves back 12 days each year and this year coincided with the summer solstice when days are at their longest.

With the EU debate falling on the evening of 21 June, it was the worst possible timing for Mr Khan, who, despite frequently raising his voice to make his points on stage, did not drink any water or eat for more than 19 hours.

A spokesman for Mr Khan confirmed that the mayor did not take exceptions despite being one of just six people on stage in the high-stakes referendum campaign.

Muslims in London were required to fast from 2.40am until 9.24pm, at which point the mayor was able to break the fast and take refreshments.

Mr Khan was pitted against former Mayor of London Boris Johnson, with the pair trading heated remarks over immigration.

Mr Khan won the loudest cheers of the evening, after he said: “The problem is this, Boris. You might start off by saying how wonderful immigration is. But your campaign hasn’t been Project Fear, it’s been Project Hate as far as immigration is concerned.”

Mr Johnson threw the “Project Hate” remark back at Mr Khan saying he was “a passionate believer in immigration but it has got to be controlled”, and reiterated his desire to introduce the policy put forward by Nigel Farage of an “Australian-style points system so we get the people we need”.

Khan was quick to point out that Australia sees twice as much immigration as Britain does for a country its size.

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