The Labour candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has said that anyone advocating leaving the European Union (EU) is either an “xenophobe” or not “sensible,” leading UKIP’s candidate to slam him for “hold[ing] millions of Londoners in contempt.”
With his statement, the mayoral candidate effectively labelled half of the population of the United Kingdom – 32 million people – either stupid or bigoted. A poll released on September the fifth revealed that 51 per cent of British public would now vote ‘No’ to staying in the EU.
Mr. Khan made the comments during an episode of the BBC’s flagship political satire show, Have I Got News For You. During the episode he also dodged questions on the turmoil within the shadow cabinet and denied being at meetings he in fact attended.
When the presenter asked Mr. Khan who might want to stay in the EU, he responded:
“Richard Branson; all sensible people; people who aren’t xenophobes and people who would like us to have jobs and growth in the country.”
“What about Jeremy [Corbyn]? He’s got a bit of form in wanting to leave?” queried Ian Hislop.
“I think you’ll find we’re definitely in favour of staying in the European Union – this week anyway,” joked Khan.
Everyone on the typically ‘balanced’ BBC panel nodded in agreement and laughed along. No one questioned his portrayal of the Eurosceptic movement and British public, and the show moved on.
Peter Whittle, UKIP’s candidate for London Mayor said in a statement:
“Writing off what may well be a majority of the population as xenophobes just shows how Khan isn’t capable of leading our great city. He holds millions of Londoners in contempt.
“Believing that Britain should be free and that London can and will thrive outside the European Union is a question of aspiration, and something that can engage all Londoners. It is not something that deserves the insults and incomprehension of people like Sadiq Khan.”
Whilst he’s making sweeping accusations of bigotry, it is worth pointing out that Mr. Khan has a history of defending unsavory characters with more than controversial views.
In 2001 he was the acting attorney for the Nation of Islam. Then, after becoming an MP, in 2005 and 2006, he visited Babar Ahmad in Woodhill Prison and campaigned for his release. Mr Ahmad was later extradited to the US where he pleaded guilty to terrorist offences.