An explosive development in the race to be the Labour candidate for London Mayor. Regular readers will remember Khan going off on one about Blair last week:
“Khan did, however, recall his frustration with the reaction of Tony Blair to the 7/7 terror attacks, when the then-prime minister called in the newly elected MP and the three other Muslim Labour members of the House of Commons. “One of my criticisms of Tony Blair was when he called the four MPs of Islamic faith into No 10 and sat us round the table and said – to Mohammad Sarwar, Khalid Mahmood, Shahid Malik and myself – it was our responsibility,” Khan said. “I said: ‘No, it’s not. Why have you called us in? I don’t blame you for the Ku Klux Klan. Why are you blaming me for the four bombers on 7/7?’ Which is why, after he called us in, and there were lots of cameras outside waiting to speak to us, my three colleagues spoke to the cameras and I walked away.”
Unfortunately for Khan, the other Muslim MPs he mentioned say his version of events is total horsesh*t:
As the MPs identified by Sadiq Khan (Electing a Muslim mayor would send out message of tolerance, says Khan, 3 July) who met with the then prime minister, Tony Blair, following the shocking 7/7 London attacks, we are extremely troubled by Khan’s evidently self-serving revisionism. Having conferred with Mohammed Sarwar (who is now Pakistan-based), we feel compelled to reveal that Khan’s account is at complete odds with our collective recollection.
He now claims that Blair was somehow accusatory towards Muslims as a whole for 7/7, and that Khan was combative in chastising the prime minister for presuming to call him to Downing Street to somehow take responsibility. Our Downing Street discussions in fact ended with a unanimous agreement on the need for unity in the fight against terror and the crucial role for Muslims.
To misrepresent the words of a British prime minister and to mischaracterise a significant meeting in the wake of the tragic loss of 52 lives a week earlier is frankly beyond the pale, and we write today not to defend Blair but to defend the truth.
Khan’s depiction of his bravado is almost comical, and if the events of 7/7 were not so grave, it would be unworthy of response. But this was a profoundly grave episode in our history, which necessitates challenging those who would seek to exploit it for personal gain.
While we agree with Khan that it would be great to see a Muslim mayor for London – as indeed it would to see a black mayor or woman mayor – above all it would be good to see a mayor who could truly command the trust of Londoners irrespective of their colour, creed, race, or gender.
Khalid Mahmood MP Labour, Birmingham Perry Barr
Shahid Malik Labour MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield, 2005-10
A source on Sadiq’s campaign tells Guido this morning that they are “not sweating it” as “ten years on people are going to take different things away from conversations.” Which is all very well, except for the fact that everyone else’s recollection is different from Khan’s…