Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SADIQ: MY 'WAR FOOTING' PLAN TO COMBAT TERROR; EXCLUSIVE; It Feels like My Entire Life Has Been Training to Be London Mayor, Says Khan

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SADIQ: MY 'WAR FOOTING' PLAN TO COMBAT TERROR; EXCLUSIVE; It Feels like My Entire Life Has Been Training to Be London Mayor, Says Khan

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

SADIQ KHAN today vowed to put London on a "war footing" to deal with terrorist threats and warned Tube chiefs against slashing the live monitoring of security cameras.

In an interview with the Standard, Labour's candidate for Mayor said he would hold a major review of the capital's safeguards and resilience "on day one".

The root-and-branch rethink would call together Scotland Yard, transport chiefs, the River Thames authorities and the emergency services to re-plan how to respond to a major Paris-style attack.

"On day one I am going to put us on a war footing with these terrorists," said the Tooting MP. "That will mean having a major review of our capabilities to deal with this." Mr Khan said he was "seriously concerned" to have been informed that CCTV cameras on London Underground were no longer being automatically monitored "in real time".

He said: "That worries me" -- adding that full-time monitoring meant personnel had a chance to spot a terrorist arming a suicide vest or pulling out a gun.

"There could be a good economic reason to make those cuts -- but at a time when we know that we are a target my job as Mayor will be to make sure we can respond," he said. In the interview, Mr Khan also: Firmly rejected his Tory rival Zac Goldsmith's campaign highlighting past links with extremists, declaring: "I will never apologise for being a human rights lawyer."

Pointed out he is the only candidate for Mayor with top-level security clearance to serve on the Queen's Privy Council and attend counter-terror meetings. He said: "Do you think I'd have been invited to weekly security meetings where there were MI5 and MI6, representatives from the police service and chaired by the Home Secretary if there were any concerns about me?" Distanced himself from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and said that if he wins the City Hall race he wanted the lessons for Labour to be: "To change people's lives for the better, you have got to win elections. There's no |point speaking to the same tribe that voted Labour last time."

Ruled out ever seeking the office of Prime Minister, adding: "If you think about the mayoralty as a stepping stone to be Prime Minister, you will always be distracted."

Confirmed that the Garden Bridge will be built if he is Mayor, although procurement issues will be reviewed, saying: "It's going ahead, it has got the green light. The money is spent. Cancelling would mean we lose that money and have nothing."

With the mayoral election now just three weeks away, the front-runner and bookies' favourite declared himself eager to take the reins at City Hall.

"I get emotional," said the bus driver's son who grew up on a south London council estate. "It feels like my entire life has been training to be the Mayor of London. …

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