Sadiq Khan has resoundingly won the nomination to be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor today, beating the bookies favourite Tessa Jowell. Olympic Tessa had consistently polled as the likely winner of the Labour nomination, as well as the likely winner of the mayoral election against any of the Conservative candidates.
Khan’s win throws the race wide open. The Tories still have yet to decide, though Zac Goldsmith is the current favourite (not that that apparently seems to matter at the moment). We’ll find out whether Jeremy Corbyn is the Labour leader on Saturday, but if he is, with Khan as the mayoral candidate, it firmly sails Labour on a port-bound heading. The power of the Trade Unions is clear.
What would Mayor Khan mean for Londoners though? Well for one, it would be a continuity service on Heathrow. Khan, like Goldsmith and Boris before them is staunchly opposed to any kind of Heathrow expansion.
But on a more practical level what does Sadiq stand for, as some have claimed it has not been particularly clear. One area where Londoners could expect to see a significant shift, in the event of a Khan led City Hall, would be in the contentious area of housing policy. Khan's selection would ensure that a radical change to housing policy will be on offer. He would, if elected, undertake dramatic changes to the London Plan that would increase the requirement for social rented properties and introduce a new category of "Living rent" for private rental – it’s hard to see a scenario where a Conservative candidate would make a similar offering.
Khan has also promised to set up a London Homes Team that would work with local Councils and local authorities. The team would work with local housing associations to develop sites and pledges to "sort out housing finance," housing ‘hit squads’ if you will. This is in theory supposed to remedy the current £400 million pound underspend of the Mayor’s affordable housing budget.
Khan has also announced that he will oppose the Government’s right to buy legislation in Parliament. His proposed "Khan amendment" aims to force the Government to fund the replacement of a 'like for like' replacement before a home is sold.
Some have observed that Tessa Jowell would have presented less of a headache for central government than her potential Conservative opponent, Zac Goldsmith. There can be little doubt that a Khan Mayor would be a significant thorn in the side of the Conservative Government.