Labour mayor of London backtracks over previous criticism of SNP and Yes movement as racist
SADIQ KHAN, the Labour mayor of London, has rowed back on his claim that supporters of Scottish independence are similar to the racial animosity of Donald Trump and populist far-right parties in Europe.
The comments came in a speech made to the Scottish Labour party conference today (Saturday 25 February) where he outlined why Scotland and Labour belonged at the heart of the UK union.
He emphasised his working-class roots and used the issue of Brexit as an example of Scotland and London political bonds as pro-European and pro-British.
However, he rowed back on comments made yesterday (Saturday 25 February) where he said that there was little difference between the politics of Trump, Le Pen and forces like Scottish independence.
“Now of course I’m not saying that nationalists are somehow racist or bigoted.” Sadiq Khan
The London mayor said: “Now’s not the time to play on people’s fears. Or to pit one part of our country – or one section of our society – against each other.
“In that respect, there’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish, and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion.”
However, there was an addition made to the speech, part of which appeared in yesterday’s Daily Record, where Khan clarifies that he does not think Yes supporters are racist.
Khan added: “Now, of course, I’m not saying that nationalists are somehow racist or bigoted – but now, more than ever – what we don’t need is more division and separation.”
“In that respect, there’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish, and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion.” Sadiq Khan
Having been elected mayor last year, Sadiq Khan came to prominence during a campaign which saw the Tory candidate and former MP Zac Goldsmith accused of racist campaigning. This followed campaign material which attempted to link him with supposed radical Islamist groups in London, yet were unfounded.
Khan has also been touted as a leading challenger for the leadership during the embattled leadership of Corbyn. A former MP for Tooting and on the ‘soft right’ of the party, Khan has been held up by allies as a modern multicultural but moderate candidate to resurrect UK Labour’s electoral fortunes.
The UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn will make a speech to the conference tomorrow (Sunday 26 February) in Perth.
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