mayor of London

Hope needs to beat hate in London

First published by ProgressOnline

My first job after leaving student politics was to work for the All Party Parliamentary on combating Antisemitism. The inquiry commissioned by John Mann had a real impact and the then prime minister Tony Blair set up an inter-departmental committee to take forward its recommendations. Within months there was a new prime minister and Gordon Brown committed his government full-square behind the plan. He appointed first Parmjit Dhanda and then Sadiq Khan to be the minister responsible. Both had considerable strengths. The transition from one to another was a time of slight trepidation: Parmjit had been elected in 2001, was well known to those working around the APPG for his interfaith work; Sadiq on the other hand had only been elected in 2005, was – alongside Shahid Malik – was the first Muslim minister in Britain and was out of nowhere the minister for faith and combatting antisemitism. (more…)

‘London’s shop steward’

First published in Progress magazine

The soon-to-be mayor of London Sadiq Khan talks to Richard Angell and Adam Harrison, and he is hungry for new powers

We lost to everyone, everywhere’, says Sadiq Khan, quoting his friend and colleague Jon Cruddas, Labour’s former policy chief speaking on the party’s defeat last May. Scotland was a wipeout, few marginal seats were won, and the Tories even took the constituency of Gower for the first time ever. In another first, Labour lost to the Tories among Sikh and Hindu communities, and in every age category over 44. There is one exception: the capital city. In London, Labour polled 300,000 more votes than the Tories. This should be more than enough to propel the son of a bus driver into city hall this May.

Khan, however, is not complacent. His office is a hive of activity. We struggle to find a quiet spot to huddle as meeting rooms are filled with campaigning briefings and organiser training, and the phones are ringing off the hook. Karen Buck, a long-time ally of Khan and winner against the odds in hyper-marginal Westminster North, is meeting with councillor and housing lead James Murray, who splits his time between Islington town hall, the leader’s office and the mayoral campaign. The staff make up the rich diversity of Labour’s political family – everyone from ardent Corbynista to ‘redeployed’ former Michael Dugher adviser. The whole Labour family has jumped behind the member of parliament for Tooting. (more…)

Turnout tests

First published in Progress magazine

Is the notion that boosted turnout will turn Labour’s fortunes around simply outlandish? Richard Angell examines its chances

We had a problem of mobilising people’, said leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn – with little chance of getting on the ballot, let alone winning – as he explained why Labour lost when Progress sat down with him on 11 June 2015. A lot has changed since that interview, not least the reluctant nominee receiving a stonking 59 per cent of the first preference vote on 12 September. (more…)

Who will be the next mayor of London

IMG_1131Today I participated in panel for PLMR’s latest podcast looking at who will be the next Mayor of London. I was joined by PLMR’s James Ford, a former aide to Boris Johnson.

The discussion considered the Labour contenders: Tessa Jowell, then Sadiq Khan MP, David Lammy MP, Dianne Abbott MP, Gareth Thomas MP and campaigner, Christian Wolmar.

The Tory, all male shortlist, is Zac Goldsmith MP, Steven Greenhalgh (deputy mayor for policing and crime), Syed Kamall MEP and assembly member Andrew Boff.

You can listen here:

King maker

First published in Progress magazine

London mayoral hopeful Oona King reveals how she would wrest City Hall from Boris’s hands, why he is ‘useless’, the Big Society a ‘con’ and how she would help tackle reoffending.

When Oona King launched her campaign to become Labour’s candidate for the 2010 London mayoral election at her old school, Haverstock, she was surprised by the response of the 14-year-olds who had been forced to sit and listen to her talking about national politics. (more…)