Conservatives ran ‘fear mongering’ London mayor campaign, Sadiq Khan says

Labour overcame a campaign of “fear mongering” to win the London mayoral race, Sadiq Khan has claimed in a victory broadside aimed at his nearest rival.

Mr Khan addressed the threats, social media abuse, and protests outside his family home which took place during the campaign, and apologised to his wife and children for the impact it had on them.

The Labour incumbent won a historic third term of office, the first London mayor to do so, with a majority of some 275,000 over Conservative rival Susan Hall.

The Tory candidate’s campaign sought to capitalise on discontent with Mr Khan’s expansion of the ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) to cover London’s outer boroughs.

She described this as part of a “war on motorists” in her campaign literature, alongside default 20mph speed limits, and traffic calming measures rolled out in some London neighbourhoods.

Newspaper reports suggested Conservative party staff were involved in running anti-Ulez Facebook groups which featured Islamophobic abuse of Mr Khan and conspiracy theories.

The party has said it is reviewing its policies regarding Facebook groups and condemns all discriminatory language.

London Mayoral election
Conservative Party candidate Susan Hall (Jeff Moore/PA)

Speaking at City Hall, Mr Khan said: “We faced a campaign of non-stop negativity, but I couldn’t be more proud that we answered the fear mongering 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.”

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(PA Graphics)

Mr Khan thanked his family for their support, but apologised to them, telling the City Hall audience: “A special thank you goes to my mum, everything she’s done for me. I love you. And to my amazing wife, Saadiya, and our daughters Anisah and Ammarah, for their strength and support throughout all these years.

“I know there have been times when this job has taken a toll on you. But that’s not right, or fair.

“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.

“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.”

The Conservatives’ anti-Ulez strategy in the mayoral poll follows a similar position by the party in last year’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.

The Ulez expansion was seen as a factor in Conservative MP Steve Tuckwell retaining ex-prime minister Boris Johnson’s seat for the Conservatives.

Government ministers have since sought to make traffic calming measures and clean air schemes a political dividing line with Labour.

Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor for the environment, was defiant about the result in the face of anti-Ulez campaigning.

“It was Ulez wot won it!” she wrote on social media site X.

Ed Miliband, the shadow environment secretary, congratulated Mr Khan on X, adding: “This is a massive win for your progressive values against a nasty, lurch to the right, climate denying Tory campaign.

“If the Conservatives think this is their future message, it will fail.”

Mr Khan was booed by Britain First as he made began victory speech, and a man walked onto stage chanting “Khan killed London”.

Nick Scanlon, Britain First’s candidate, came 12th of 13 in the contest for London mayor with just over 20,500 votes, and was beaten by joke entry Count Binface, who won 24,260 votes to come in 11th place.

Speaking after Mr Khan’s victory, his Tory rival Ms Hall said he should stop “patronising” people who care about London.

“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,” she added.