British Pakistani MP Sadiq Khan could become the first ethnic minority Mayor of London after he was today named the Labour Party’s candidate for the capital’s mayoral race.
Mr Khan, a lawyer by profession and the son of a bus driver who migrated to Britain in the 1960’s, beat out Tessa Jowell to secure his party’s nomination for Mayor.
His victory sets up an intriguing battle against Zac Goldsmith, scion of the famous Goldsmith banking dynasty, who is expected to be named the Conservative Party’s candidate.
The mayoral election will take place in May 2016.
Following his victory, 44-year-old Mr Khan, said: “I am deeply humbled to have received the support of tens of thousands of Londoners. I am determined to repay that trust by winning the mayoral election next May, and making a real difference to Londoners’ lives.
“London gave me and my family huge opportunities. A council house so we could save for a deposit to buy our own home. A secure job for my dad as a bus driver. A great education for me and my siblings, affordable university places and good quality apprenticeships. As Mayor I will provide more opportunities for all Londoners.
“My priorities for Londoners are clear. An affordable and secure home to rent or buy. More jobs with higher wages for the lowest paid. Making it easier to set up and run a successful business. Reducing the cost of commuting and making London’s environment safer, healthier and less polluted.”
The final tally was 48,152 votes for Mr Khan and 33,573 for Dame Tessa.
London Mayor is one of the most important jobs in British politics.
The eventual winner will oversee a huge £17 billion budget and exercise control over transportation, policing, housing and tourism in one of the world’s great capitals.
Mr Khan, a human rights lawyer, has said one of his key jobs will be to set up an “economic fairness” unit to look at ways of creating a level playing field for workers in the capital, which is also one of the most expensive cities in the world.
He has pledged to freeze tube and train fares until 2020 and cut bus fares. He has also said he would oppose expansion of Heathrow aiport.
If he wins, Mr Khan – the MP for Tooting, South London – will become the first Muslim Mayor of London as well.
In 2005 he became the first Muslim to attend Cabinet when he was named transport minister by Gordon Brown.