SPECTATOR: Sadiq Khan Is a Lousy London Mayor. Why Hasn’t Anyone Noticed?

Sadiq Khan
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Sadiq Khan’s record as Mayor of London has been slammed by Sunday Times journalist Andrew Gilligan, a former City Hall commissioner.

The Labour politician is best known to Breitbart readers for his noisy opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump and police stop-and-search powers, noisy support for the European Union, mass migration, and the admission of supposed ‘refugees’ to Britain, and the deadly crime wave currently sweeping London, which has been the major feature of tenure.

But Gilligan claims that Sadiq Khan’s term in office, which is already halfway through, has also been a failure on its most basic terms, particularly when it comes to bread and butter issues like as housing and transport, despite promises of a transformative mayoralty before his election.

Few expected Khan to keep such epoch-making promises. But we did expect him to do something. City Hall figures show, however, that in the first year of Khan’s term, London did not start building a single social rented home. By comparison, [Boris] Johnson started 7,439 homes for social rent in his first year as mayor and 1,687 in the first year of his second term, after the economic crash. With two years of Khan’s term nearly now gone, the great social justice warrior has finally managed to begin (drum roll) 1,263 social rent homes, many of a type he once denounced as “not genuinely affordable”.

Gilligan also notes that his dubious promise to “both freeze fares and invest record amounts modernising London’s transport infrastructure” has resulted in the worst of both worlds, with fares only being frozen for some travellers but the impact on funding still being sufficient to leave Transport for London (TfL) unable to pay the interest on its current debts, never mind launching game-changing infrastructure redevelopments.

As it said in a leaked memo: “If this was our household budget, this would be the same as not having enough money left over from our salary each month to pay our interest–only mortgage or get our car serviced.” TfL has now been forced to suspend routine road maintenance, stop many investment programmes, and make serious cuts to the bus network. Even the first phase of this has reduced services by 7 per cent overall — and on some routes by 50 per cent.

For Gilligan, Khan’s ‘have it both ways’ approach to policy reflects a fundamental lack of interest in good governance, with the 47-year-old having only ever viewed the mayoralty as a launchpad for a Labour leadership bid, with Downing Street being his ultimate goal.

Khan’s promise of both real-terms fare cuts and increased investment exemplifies his greatest weakness — his wish to have it both ways, or more brutally his long-standing inability to make decisions. Depending on how strictly you count it, for instance, Khan as mayor has voiced between two and six different ‘no. 1 priorities’. As an MP, he once went straight from voting in parliament for post office closures to a public meeting where he protested against post office closures. He wobbled interminably over Boris’s Garden Bridge, reversing his position five times. He was against Heathrow expansion, then in favour, and is now against it once more — and so the list goes on.

You can read Andrew Gilligan’s column in full on the Spectator website, here.

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