Labour peer Doreen Lawrence has called on Londoners to choose “unity over division” and elect Sadiq Khan as the capital’s next mayor.
Baroness Lawrence, who last summer backed Tessa Jowell’s bid to be Labour’s candidate, said: “London is a city that not only tolerates, but celebrates our diversity. A city that I know will choose unity over division. And hope over fear.”
She added: “Growing up in London in the Sixties, I never imagined that we could see a Mayor of London like Sadiq in my lifetime.
“Someone whose parents were immigrants and who grew up on a council estate, and who wants all Londoners to have the opportunities that London gave him. It’s an amazing sign of how far our city has come over the last 20 years.”
Her intervention in the mayoral race follows weeks of newspaper headlines, fuelled by Tory Zac Goldsmith’s campaign, highlighting Mr Khan’s appearances at events which were also attended by “extremists”.
It also comes just a 24 hours after a strident attack on Mr Khan’s policy platform by businessman and former Labour peer Lord Sugar.
Writing in the Sunday Times, the Apprentice star said Mr Khan had “single-handedly wrecked the Labour Party” by backing Ed Miliband’s leadership, which culminated in one of the party’s worst ever general election results, and then nominating Jeremy Corbyn as his successor.
Sugar wrote: “Khan has never voted against Corbyn in Parliament since Corbyn became leader. The point being, no one should be fooled by Khan’s stance that he will be totally independent as mayor of London and not influenced by Corbyn.”
He also branded Mr Khan’s manifesto “a wish list straight out Corbyn’s and Livingstone’s little red book” and labeled his pledge to freeze fares for the full four years of the next mayoralty a “fantasy”.
Sugar ended his article by saying: “On May 5th I would strongly urge Londoners not to vote for Khan.”
Londoners will elect a new Mayor and the 25 members of the London Assembly on May 5th. Candidates for Mayor include Conservative Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, the Green party’s Sian Berry and UKIP’s Peter Whittle.