London: Sadiq Khan has been re-elected as the London Mayor for the second time after he defeated his closest rival with a vote share of 55.2 per cent versus 44.8 per cent in a closely contested election.
The Labour Party candidate secured a total of 1,206,034 votes to beat his Conservative Party rival, Shaun Bailey, who got 977,601 votes after both first and second preference votes from Thursday’s mayoral election were fully counted.
Back in 2016, 51-year-old Sadiq, with Pakistani-origin, had become the first Muslim mayor of a European capital city. The London mayoral election was due last year but got postponed by a year amid the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in 2020.
“I am deeply humbled by the trust Londoners have placed in me to continue leading the greatest city on earth,” said Khan.
“I promise to strain every sinew, help build a better and brighter future for London, after the dark days of the pandemic and to create a greener, fairer and safer city for all Londoners, to get the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential. I am proud to have won an overwhelming mandate today,” he said, speaking at his City Hall office.
The former Labour member of Parliament reiterated his previous pledge to be a mayor for the people of London and work to ameliorate the lives of every single Londoner during his term.
“The results of the elections around the UK shows our country, and even our city, remains deeply divided. The scars of Brexit have yet to heal. A crude culture war is pushing us further apart,” he said.
“As we seek to confront the enormity of the challenge ahead, and as we endeavour to rebuild from this pandemic, we must use this moment of national recovery to heal those damaging divisions,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rival Bailey reacted by saying that he had been “written off” by pollsters, politicians and journalists but “Londoners didn’t write me off”.
His win is one of the only few positives for the Labour Party as the party held on to its dominance in the London Assembly as well. Labour also kept hold of its mayoralty in Greater Manchester, where Andy Burnham was re-elected in a landslide win.
However, overall the local election performance has been largely dismal for the Opposition party as it lost many of its strongholds. The Conservatives have gained control of around 12 councils and the Labour has lost control of seven and the Labour failed in its attempt to oust Conservative Andy Street as the popular mayor of the West Midlands.