Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Khan's Warning to Mayoral Rivals: Focus on the General Election First

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Khan's Warning to Mayoral Rivals: Focus on the General Election First

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy

LABOUR'S London campaign chief today attacked colleagues jostling to become the next Mayor instead of uniting to win the General Election. Sadiq Khan took a swipe at mayoral hopefuls, who include David Lammy and Diane Abbott, saying they should "look themselves in the eye" and ask if they were doing enough for the party's general election campaign.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Mr Khan also warned that success in London in the General Election on May 7 was more important than ever because of the rise of the Scottish National Party and Ukip.

"Anybody who is distracted by their candidature for Mayor, I would ask them to ask once the votes are counted after May 7, can they look themselves in the eye and say 'I did everything I could to return a Labour government and nothing I did distracted from that happening'," he said.

Although Mr Khan refused to identify his targets, they are likely to include Mr Lammy, who launched his campaign for City Hall in September, and Ms Abbott, who declared she would stand two weeks ago. Dame Tessa Jowell has said she intends to stand once the general election is over, while Margaret Hodge has been raising her profile. All four, however, say they are mainly focused on the general election.

Shadow London minister Mr Khan is widely expected to throw his hat into the mayoral ring soon after the votes are counted for the general election.

He said: "I'm not ruling it out, but you know I think every Labour Party supporter should be spending every minute every hour and every day between now and 10pm on May 7 trying to make sure a Labour government is returned.

"Politics is a team sport. We succeed or we fail together. You can be the best Labour Mayor, but without a Labour government your ability to help Londoners will be diminished."

Mr Khan's warning about the importance of making gains in London will alarm Labour MPs who fear losing vital seats to the SNP and Ukip. "London is the route map through which Labour will return to government," he said.

"It holds the key, literally, to No 10 Downing Street. That's especially the case with the rise of Ukip and the Scottish National Party in Scotland. …

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