Labour`s Sadiq Khan expected to become new mayor of London

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Manju Shukla
Date  06/05/2016
In London, Labour`s Sadiq Khan is tipped to beat Conservative multi-millionaire environmentalist Zac Goldsmith in the race to run the English capital dubbed a battle between the son of a bus driver and the son of a billionaire.

The result will be the culmination of a bitter campaign that has seen accusations of “dogwhistle politics” for the way Conservatives have labelled Khan “dangerous” and pressed his links to controversial preachers after a career as a human rights lawyer.

Meanwhile, Goldsmith has been slammed for being elitist and out of touch by failing to name stops on the tube, or the Bollywood films he professed to “love”.

Both men voted early this morning: Khan in his multiethnic constituency of Tooting in south London, and Goldsmith in his leafy, affluent southwestern suburb of Richmond

While there are 12 candidates in the London race including those running for the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Women’s Equality Party, Khan and Goldsmith are between 12 and 14 points ahead.

Their different backgrounds have provided a key framework for the race. Khan, 45, is lampooned for how often he repeats his “son of a bus driver” refrain and grew up in social housing with Pakistani immigrant parents, where he slept at home while studying law in order to save for a house. He worked as a human rights lawyer before entering politics.

Goldsmith, 41, is the son of billionaire financier James Goldsmith and edited The Ecologist magazine before entering politics where he serves as MP for Richmond. His strong green credentials have seen him endorsed by London’s popular Evening Standard newspaper who said he has the more “compelling ideas on tackling pollution and congestion”.

For voters, the key issues are housing and transport in a city where many struggle to find an affordable place to live and commuting for an hour or more is common.

“Muslim or non-Muslim, it doesn’t ... matter for the community,” said 57-year-old Koyruz Zoman, a Muslim cook from Whitechapel in the ethnically diverse East End.

“Whoever comes in, we want what they’ve promised.”

Human Resources manager Leeanne Collaco, 28, said religion was not as important as someone who has “known struggles”.

“He probably would fight harder for a fairer London,” she said of Khan.

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