This lunchtime, the Labour Party announced the first in its slew of internal election results, confirming Sadiq Khan MP as its candidate for the London Mayoralty in May next year.
Khan, MP for Tooting since 2005, was seen as the main challenger to frontrunner and establishment and proud Blairite candidate, Dame Tessa Jowell. Although winning is for Khan a big achievement, it is not a shock on the same scale as a Diane Abbott win would have been, or on the scale of the expected Corbyn win in the leadership, announced tomorrow. The scale of Khan’s victory over Jowell is more surprising – 59% to 41%.
Though Khan ‘s politics are on the left of the Labour Party, he is not a hard-left fellow traveller of the Corbyn crowd. Serving as a Minister in Gordon Brown’s Government, Khan led Ed Miliband’s successful leadership bid in 2010, leading to his role as Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, and Shadow Minister for London. Khan will attempt to run a broad-based campaign for the Mayoralty, though he tends to the populist on totem issues such as a third runway at Heathrow, which he opposes.
Jowell’s loss to Khan throws into sharp relief the step-change in the make-up of the Labour Party; many of Khan’s supporters attended Corbyn events in order to pick up support, and Khan – ever the canny operator – was one of the MPs who “lent” Corbyn his vote in order to see him on the ballot. However, the breakdown shows that Jowell led in the membership section until the last round, whereas the other two electoral colleges, affiliated members (largely trades unionists) and supporters (the much-discussed £3ers), heavily turned out for Khan.
Khan’s win is being interpreted as a clear sign that Corbyn is highly likely to win the Leadership election, announced tomorrow at 12noon.
Steve Race, Associate Director, Public Affairs
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