Zac Goldsmith attacked by senior Tory over 'outrageous' London mayoral campaign

'If you are a London politician this is just a bizarre thing to do'

Siobhan Fenton
Friday 06 May 2016 22:48
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Senior Tory blast's Goldsmith's 'outrageous' campaign

A senior London Conservative politician has criticised Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign as damaging links between the party and the city’s Muslim community.

Andrew Boff, Conservative group leader on the Greater London assembly, made the comments following criticism of Zac Goldsmith’s campaign which has been described as exploiting racial and cultural stereotypes about Muslims through a ‘dog whistle’ campaign of subtle racism.

Mr Boff told BBC Newsnight: “It was ridiculous… I do believe it’s going to affect Conservatives at the sharp end, especially in those parts of London where there is a high Muslim population. I mentioned that I thought this was a mistake for future integration in London. If you are a London politician this is just a bizarre thing to do.”

He added: “I don’t think it was a dog whistle because you can’t hear a dog whistle. Everybody could hear this. It was effectively saying that people of conservative religious views are not to be trusted and you should not share a platform with them. That’s outrageous.”

Mr Goldsmith has previously denied that his campaign has exploited racial stereotypes, saying: “It’s not a race element at all. I talk to different communities about their concerns. He is radical and divisive because of his approach to politics.”

Vote counting for the London mayoral election is due to begin this morning, with results expected this afternoon. Recent polls have indicated that Mr Khan has a considerable lead in the race.

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