Friday 17 January 2020 6:52 am

Sadiq Khan warns against Westminster 'anti-London agenda'

Sadiq Khan urged Labour and the Conservatives to ditch their “anti-London agenda” in a speech to City grandees last night.

The speech, at the City of London Corporation’s London government dinner, hit out at Boris Johnson’s plans for “re-balancing spending away from London and towards other parts of the country”.

However, the Tories weren’t the only target of the mayor’s tongue-lashing. 

“My party – the Labour party – clearly faces the same forces and pressures – particularly after the General Election result,” he said.

“Clipping London’s wings is not the answer if you want to help other cities and regions to soar. 

“The way to make our country more equal is not to make London poorer.”

The mayor of London’s comments come after the Conservatives picked up a swathe of Northern and Midlands seats in the General Election, breaking Labour’s so-called “red wall”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now pledged to spend £100bn in infrastructure, however the only projects earmarked for funding so far are well beyond the capital.

Big ticket London projects, such as Crossrail 2 and vital Tube upgrades, appear to have been left on the sideline.

Conservative Cities of London and Westminster MP Nickie Aiken echoed Khan’s concerns in an interview with City A.M. on Tuesday.

She said: “We’ve got to move away from an us-and-them mentality,” adding “the City is the engine of UK plc, but it needs all the other elements to create a Rolls Royce.”

Meanwhile, the start of Labour’s leadership contest has revolved around winning back Northern voters, with candidates scuttling to distance themselves from ties to the capital.

Frontrunner, and Holborn and St Pancras MP, Sir Keir Starmer was quick to point out in a recent interview that while he was born in London, that he in fact grew up in Surrey.

The next three favoured candidates with the bookmakers – Rebecca Long-Bailey, Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy – are from Manchester and Birmingham.

Long-Bailey is officially launching her campaign today with a speech that will emphasise her Manchester upbringing and call for devolution away from the capital.

Richard Brown, deputy director at think tank Centre for London, said the signs coming from Westminster were concerning for the capital.

“It would be short-sighted of the government to take for granted the significant contribution the capital makes – driving jobs, growth and prosperity across the country – and to overlook the communities who feel left behind within London,” he said.

“It is in everyone’s best interest for London to thrive – while working with other cities and regions to ensure this benefit is shared.”

Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey dismissed Khan’s comments that there was a growing anti-London sentiment from the government.

“The only anti-London agenda is the one coming from City Hall,” he said.

“Khan is not keeping us safe, he’s not building us homes, and he’s letting the transport system fall apart.”

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