Sunday 16 February 2020 10:12 am

Exclusive: Sadiq Khan challenges Labour leadership candidates to sign London pledge

Sadiq Khan has issued a challenge for all Labour leadership candidates to sign up to six pledges for London, including a promise to rid the party of antisemitism.

The mayor of London has asked the three remaining candidates – Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy – to pledge to “stamp out antisemitism” within the party and to “stand up, both at home and abroad, for the values of openness, equality and tolerance”.

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The move comes on the back of a tide of antisemitism allegations within Labour over the past two years, which have led to an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into whether the party is institutionally racist.

Khan said: “I’ve repeatedly called for more to be done to tackle antisemitism from within the Labour Party and now I’m asking all the leadership candidates to pledge to make it a top priority on their first day in office.”

He has also challenged Starmer, Long-Bailey and Nandy to pledge that they will “fight for funding” for vital London infrastructure projects – such as the Bakerloo line extension and Crossrail 2 – and for more public services funding directed to the capital if elected leader.

Other promises include adopting policy positions to give the London mayor greater powers over the private rental sector and transport, while also supporting the mayor to “tackle air pollution, build genuinely affordable homes, protect the green belt and lead the drive for a carbon neutral London by 2030”.

Khan issued the challenge this morning in the lead up to the party’s London hustings for leadership and deputy leadership candidates.

“This Tory government is the most anti-London government in history,” he said.

“But I’m concerned that the Labour party is drifting into a similar place and taking the success of London for granted.

“So I’m calling on all three candidates to talk up London, and be open in acknowledging that Britain succeeds when all its towns, cities and regions – including London – succeed.”

The Conservatives’ landslide election win in December came thanks to winning a large number of northern and Midlands seats, leading some to speculate that the government will neglect funding London projects in favour of those up north.

This was bolstered by the fact that the Tory manifesto promised £100bn of local infrastructure spending, however only projects north of the capital have been earmarked for completion.

On Tuesday, Johnson also confirmed HS2 – high speed rail connecting London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – will go ahead.

The six London pledges in full

1. Stamp out anti-Semitism within the Labour Party and stand up, both at home and abroad, for the values of openness, equality and tolerance.

2. Support the Mayor of London to tackle air pollution, build genuinely affordable homes, protect the Green Belt and lead the drive for a carbon neutral London by 2030.

3. Commit to delivering an affordable, reliable and green public transport system in London, and to fight for funding for new projects like the Bakerloo Line Extension and Crossrail 2.

4. Give London more control over its own affairs under a Labour government – with powers to run suburban commuter railway lines, regulate the private rental sector and address the climate emergency.

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5. Pressure the Government to give London’s public services the funding they desperately need, including more police officers on the streets, and to invest in youth services and sports clubs to give young people positive opportunities.

6. Talk London up, not down, and make the case that Britain succeeds when London and all its towns, cities and regions succeed.

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