London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan: No Labour landslide in 2015 General Election

 
Guy Bentley
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Sadiq Khan says Labour needs to learn lessons of the past (Source: Getty)

The widely tipped London mayoral candidate and MP for Tooting has said Labour became "arrogant" in office and didn't "spot early enough the need for additional housing".

Khan, a close ally of Ed Miliband has been put in charge of heading off the growing popularity of the Green Party that Labour sees as a threat to its left flank.

Speaking to London loves Business, Khan said "the thing about the polls is you always ignore them unless you're doing well". No doubt Khan will be keeping one eye on the polls showing his chances of replacing Boris Johnson for mayor.

In January, a YouGov poll showed a jump in support for Khan. He increased his support from 11 per cent in December last year to 19 per cent in January. Khan will likely face-off against other well-known Labour figures like Dame Tessa Jowell and Diane Abbott.

Khan has yet to declare his candidacy officially. “If you look at the best football managers, the best boxers, the best politicians, they’ll tell you that the most important game - the most important election [in our case] - is the next one" he said.

“Other people may be focused on the mayoral stuff – I’m focused on the general election". He concedes that this year's contest "won't be a landslide election for anybody". Khan explains "with the emergence of the smaller parties, all of us have to compete for and earn people’s vote".

His comments will echo those of Lord Mandelson, who told the Retail Week conference:

There will almost certainly be a stalemate hung Parliament in two months' time.

One of big challenges facing Labour, says Khan, is to learn from the party's mistakes. “We needed to recognise that we became arrogant, we didn’t spot early enough the need for additional housing, we should have recognised that the Iraq War was wrong", Khan said.

To win people back to Labour's cause, Khan advocates a strong devolution of power. "After the referendum in 1997 we gave London the mayor and City Hall. Scotland got its parliament and Wales got its assembly. We now need to redouble our efforts to give people power".

Khan and his party may now be facing an uphill battle to capture the keys to number 10. A host of recent polls have shown the Tories ahead if ever so slightly. Research conducted by Opinium shows that close to half of voters believe the Conservatives will win the election compared to 33 per cent who think Miliband will win in May.

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