London Mayor Sadiq Khan gave a speech in Manchester on behalf of the EU ‘Remain’ campaign, with women noticeably absent from the front of the crowd.
In an effort to bolster the ailing Remain campaign, newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan has gone on a road trip across the country to try and boost support for remaining in the European Union (EU).
A photograph from one of Mr. Khan’s speeches in Manchester posted on the Guido Fawkes blog reveals that in at least one of his speeches, meant to galvanise Labour voters in the north of England, women were excluded from the front row and relegated to the periphery of the event.
Mr. Khan is said to be attempting to distance himself from the government’s official campaign that has been dubbed “project fear”, and is expected to tell Labour voters in the party’s northern heartlands that voting to remain in the EU is the “positive, proud and patriotic thing to do,” the Evening Standard reports.
The London mayor said: “I am backing Remain because it’s by far the best option for protecting working people’s jobs, wages and rights…the world won’t end if we leave Europe — but it won’t be in Londoners’ interests or the interests of working people.”
It is not the first time that a Labour event has seen the segregation of women. The party has often been accused of pandering to hard-line Muslims, with a number of incidents being revealed last year.
The Mayor has also been in hot water before when it comes to questions over his links to Islamist groups and those who practice a more traditional form of Islam that often sees women segregated at events from men. Adding further fuel to the accusations that Mr. Khan is attempting to enforce a more traditional role of women in public life is his new ban on sexualised advertising on London’s public transport.
According to Mr. Khan, the ban on sexualised advertisements was to prevent exposure to images of scantly clad models making women feel “ashamed” of their own bodies. Though the move plays into the desires of feminists who want to see a more prudish take on women in public life, it also plays to the views of Islamists and Islamic traditionalists who desire women to cover up for reasons of “modesty”.
The speeches in the north of England see Mr. Khan team up with not only Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose engagement in the campaign has been lackluster so far, but also Prime Minister David Cameron who merely weeks before the London mayoral election referred to Mr. Khan as an extremist. Mr. Cameron and Mr. Khan appeared at a rally together at the end of last month in London to extol the virtues of the EU and the benefits of staying in the political bloc.
The north of England tour is scheduled to see Mr. Khan make speeches in Manchester, Oldham, Leeds and possibly Bradford. After the tour he will return through the Midlands to London on Sunday ahead of a BBC debate with former London mayor and pro-Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson at Wembley Arena on Tuesday evening.