Sadiq Khan got quite a grilling on LBC this morning, where he was questioned over his links to known Islamic extremists. Nick Ferrari cited Guido’s research from yesterday that revealed an online web of terror surrounding the London Mayoral candidate. He says he will unfollow them…
Politicians have previously been embarrassed by revelations that their personal Twitter accounts follow porn sites, escort services and even brothels. Sadiq Khan’s ‘following’ list is slightly different. Labour’s mayoral candidate keeps up to date with the musings of Majid Freeman, a ‘charity worker’ from Leicester who posts links to ISIS propaganda videos and films presenting Daesh as a reasonable response to the West. Majid has also promoted material on Twitter praising Jabhat al-Nusra, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda. Perhaps Sadiq was hacked?
Unfortunately Khan also follows Hamja Ahsan, a ‘justice campaigner’ who spends all his time on Twitter campaigning on behalf of his brother Talha, who pleaded guilty to providing material support for insurgents in Afghanistan. Talha faced trial alongside Khan’s childhood friend Babar Ahmad, who also pleaded guilty. Khan admits he was close to these dodgy people back in the day, he says that is all history now. The evidence of his Twitter account is that he still likes to keep up-to-date with them…
Guido was greatly amused watching Sadiq Khan lose it on Monday with a BBC London journalist over TFL’s factual statement that his transport proposals have a £1.9 billion funding black hole in them. Last night on ITV London the Labour mayoral candidate gave a repeat performance of evasiveness all over again when confronted with the TFL figure. Five times he avoided answering the question that won’t go away…
UPDATE: Labour Assembly member Val Shawcross has tried to get TfL boss Mike Brown to disown the £1.9 billion figure. It has backfired spectacularly:
Shawcross: “Do you own a figure of £1.9 billion? Yes or no? Has TFL produced or published that assessment? I want to know if that figure from a TFL source or not?”
Brown: “…We are obliged to take a series of indicators, OBR, Bank of England. If you look at that in the round then our assumptions would take you to a figure of £1.9 billion over the planned years.”
So Labour have succeeded in getting TfL to confirm the £1.9 billion black hole figure is correct. Slow clap.
Guido has previously noted that balding Boris is losing his locks, so it is no surprise to see his hair cropped shorter and brushed forward to disguise that thinning top:
It is more flattering from above:
The age old rule in British politics is that bald men in the television age do not beat rivals with a full head of hair. Think Tony Blair versus William Hague, IDS and Michael Howard, nor can we forget Maggie versus Kinnock. In every election the slap-head loses. Could Boris’ new baldness-battling barnet be a sign that his leadership campaign is shifting up a gear?
UPDATE: A friend of Boris gets in touch:
“Don’t get too excited. Cropping shorter isn’t new Mayoral policy, it’s something he revisits every few months with the help of his Turkish barber!”
Yesterday morning Sadiq Khan sent out a briefing note, helpfully it told us that Labour was split on airport expansion:
By the afternoon the briefing note dropped any reference to City Airport altogether…
Jon Burke, Labour’s City Hall adviser on economics, tweeted late on Tuesday night:
Consequently on Wednesday the Labour group on the London Assembly didn’t put forward an alternative London budget. The Assembly held the final vote on Boris’s last annual budget for the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, the fire brigade and other City Hall agencies where traditionally opposition parties bring forward a costed alternative budget which they hope to persuade other groups to back in place of the mayor’s budget. The ensuing debate allows them to set out their own priorities for London. The rumour flying around is that Khan was in City Hall on Tuesday and had a massive argument with Len Duval, leader of the Labour Group, consequently they could not agree on an amendment. So Labour offered no alternative budget plan in an election year….
The Tories have immediately seized on the issue:
Could it be that Sadiq Khan calculates that coming clean with the voters about costs in an election year could cost him votes? Labour don’t want to admit to putting up taxes in writing, and that Sadiq’s sums don’t add up on his fares policy or policing costs? City Hall staff had apparently spent weeks costing Labour’s alternative plans. LibDem assemblyman Stephen Knight claims Labour’s plans have been shredded “on the orders of” Sadiq. Better to offer no voter repelling costed alternative than admit that London Labour, the looniest in the land, plans to go the full Corbyn, implementing socialism in the capital….
Zac Goldsmith was in for a grilling on the Today Programme this morning, culminating in him accusing Sadiq Khan of “playing the race card”. The Tory mayoral candidate was responding to suggestions by Sadiq and Sarah Montague that Zac was “playing with fire” by labelling him “radical and divisive” in his campaigning literature:
Sarah Montague: We are in a world where there is huge amount of coverage of the concerns of Islamic terrorism, and you are calling the Muslim candidate, your rival, radical and divisive. Do you think that is wise?
Zac Goldsmith: If I cannot use the term radical to describe what has happened to the Labour Party, the selection of these two candidates [Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan]. If I can’t use the term “radical” in that context, then I don’t know when I’d be able to use the term radical.
SM: He says you’re playing with fire, do you recognise that?
ZG:I think he is playing with fire. I don’t think there is anything more divisive in playing the race card when clearly unambiguously it does not apply. It’s very obvious what I was referring to when I described him as a radical candidate, as part of a radical process which has enveloped the Labour Party and taken our politics in an extraordinary direction. We have now an opposition party that is more extreme than anytime in our lifetime…and he’s part of that process.
Sadiq Khan is trying to make an issue of Zac’s stake in bookmakers Fitzdares – as disclosed in his register of interests ever since he became an MP. The claim being that Zac’s interest in gambling makes him unsuitable to be mayor of a city where the number of betting shops on our high streets has become a political issue. Unfortunately anti-gambling Sadiq previously voted to introduce super casinos to the UK’s cities…
Sadiq is currently 4/5 favourite by a sliver at the bookies over Zac at 11/10. Guido recommends you hold on to your money for now, those odds could change…
There has been some chatter that for electability reasons Sadiq Khan was distancing himself from Jeremy Corbyn – the actual evidence shows the opposite. Corbyn’s core backers are throwing their efforts into putting Khan in City Hall, not just out of gratitude to Sadiq for nominating Jeremy for Labour leader, it is as an essential effort in self preservation.[…] Read the rest
Boris has launched a programme that will rank buildings in London by their connectivity and help businesses understand whether offices will meet their internet needs. Any building that signs up to the Connectivity Ratings Scheme will receive a technical assessment from WiredScore, who run similar programmes across major US cities, and will be ranked against other London buildings in a searchable database.[…] Read the rest
It was Jezza wot won it! Going to be a punchy race…
UPDATE: Full results via LabourList:
First round: Tessa Jowell 26,121 (29.7%) , Sadiq Khan 32, 926 (37.5%), Diane Abbott 14,798 (16.8%), David Lammy 8,255 (9.4%), Christian Wolmar 4,729 (5.4%), Gareth Thomas 1,055 (1.2%)
Second round: Tessa Jowell 26,406 (30.1%), Sadiq Khan 33, 141 (37.8%), Diane Abbott 14, 891 (17%), David Lammy 8, 392 (9.6%), Christian Wolmar 4, 927 (5.6%)
Third round: Tessa Jowell 27,272 (31.3%), Sadiq Khan 34, 813 (40%), Diane Abbott 15,878 (18.2%), David Lammy 9,147 (10.5%)
Fourth round: Tessa Jowell 29, 785 (34.6%), Sadiq Khan 38, 440 (44.7%) , Diane Abbott 17, 784 (20.7%)
Fifth round: Tessa Jowell 33, 573 (41.1%, Sadiq Khan 48,152 (58.95)
UPDATE II: And the first person to congratulate him…
Another stunning success for the beleaguered Bow Group. On Monday they announced Zac Goldsmith as the keynote speaker at their summer reception, rather an odd move for a think tank that spends its time condemning Tories who show the slightest ideological impurity as “unconservative“.[…] Read the rest