Sadiq Khan said on Sunday voters “got it right” at the 12 December election and accused Labour of displaying a “breathtaking lack of emotional intelligence or humanity” in its handling of alleged antisemitism.
The London Mayor seeking re-election on 7 May described last month’s election result as “catastrophic” and discussed the row over anti-Jewish racism that overshadowed much of Labour’s election campaign in a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Times.
When quizzed on possible reasons for the result, Khan cited Labour’s position on Brexit and the perception of Labour as “a racist party because of our failure to tackle antisemitism.”
“For the leadership not to understand the impact of us being seen to condone antisemitism is heartbreaking. We’ve demonstrated a breathtaking lack of emotional intelligence or humanity,” he told the newspaper during a walk on Tooting Common.
Khan urged Labour to expel members accused of antisemitism. “The ease with which Alastair Campbell was chucked out for talking about voting for another party, and yet you have antisemites still in, beggars belief,” he said, referring to Tony Blair’s former communications aide expelled last year after admitting he backed the Liberal Democrats at the European elections.
Khan hit back against arguments referencing alleged Islamophobia in the Conservative Party sometimes used to shield Labour from accusations of antisemitism – a tactic he described as “what-aboutery”.
“Sure, the Tories may be Islamophobic,” he said. “That doesn’t concern me. The standards I expect from Labour are higher than other parties.”
The mayor also criticised Labour’s handling of the case against the former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who resigned from the party in 2018 after his suspension over allegedly antisemitic comments two years earlier.