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.