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Labour candidate Sadiq Khan in pledge over London Mayor election

Published 04/01/2016

Labour candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan
Labour candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Labour's candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has insisted he will be "my own man" if he wins the race to succeed Boris Johnson, as he warned that the May election should not be decided by voters' views of Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Khan said he aimed to be "the most pro-business mayor this city has every seen", stressing his commitment to a new runway at Gatwick Airport and his opposition to the Labour leader's proposal for a windfall tax on jobs.

He accused Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith of lacking the experience needed for the post of mayor because he had "never had a proper job".

Challenged to say whether he would be "Jeremy Corbyn's man in London" if he takes office at City Hall, Mr Khan told theBBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I think I am my own man."

And he added: "Jeremy Corbyn isn't on the ballot paper in the May mayoral elections. Nor is David Cameron.

"I am. So I have got to set out over the course of the next 120 days who I am."

The Tooting MP said the windfall tax was one of a number of examples of areas where "it is important for me to be my own person".

But he added: "What I am not going to do is for the next three months differentiate myself from Jeremy Corbyn, because I will speak for my own policies and my own vision for this great city, and let Jeremy do the important job of being leader of the Labour Party."

He declined to comment on speculation of an upcoming reshuffle in the shadow cabinet.

"Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the party. That is a decision for Jeremy to take. My job is to tell Londoners why they should lend me their votes to make London an even greater city than it already is."

Mr Khan stressed his proposals for a "London living rent" set at one-third of local average income levels, as well as the need for action to improve air quality in the capital.

And he said: "I am against a new runway at Heathrow, but, unlike Jeremy Corbyn, I am very much in favour of a new runway at Gatwick Airport, because of the benefits of an increase in aviation capacity for jobs and growth."

Mr Khan said he would not attack Mr Goldsmith over his privileged background as the son of billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith, but said voters should consider whether they wanted a mayor whose only previous "proper job" was as editor of The Ecologist magazine, founded by his uncle, Edward Goldsmith.

"I will not criticise Zac Goldsmith for who his parents are or what his background is. None of us are responsible for who our families are," said the Labour candidate, who is a lawyer and the son of a bus driver.

"What I will hold him to account for is what experiences he has to be the mayor of the greatest city in the world.

"London is one of the leading global commercial cities in the world, so I ask the question 'Do you want as Mayor of London ... someone who has never had a proper job, someone whose only job was one given you by your uncle to run his niche magazine?'"

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