Khan sworn in as London mayor as Tories defend ‘toxic’ Goldsmith campaign

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan
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Sadiq Khan began his ceremonial duties as the new mayor of London in triumphant style, less than 12 hours after he was officially confirmed in the role.

The Labour MP was greeted warmly by actor Sir Ian McKellen as he strolled into Southwark Cathedral for his signing-in ceremony on Saturday morning, marking the end of the Conservatives’ eight-year reign under Boris Johnson at City Hall.

Mr Khan, who stood on a ticket of being “a mayor for all Londoners” to become the first Muslim leader of a major Western city, was given an impromptu standing ovation and received rapturous applause as he entered the packed cathedral shortly after 11.36am.

Mr Khan received a second sustained burst of applause and loud whooping when he introduced himself with: “My name is Sadiq Khan, I’m the mayor of London.”

During an address lasting barely four minutes, the human rights lawyer-turned-politician brought laughter from the floor as, in a nod to a much-referenced and parodied theme of his election campaign, he said: “Some of you don’t know, but I grew up on a council estate.”

He repeated his vows to be a “mayor for all Londoners” during the short, multi-faith service.

He said: “I can’t believe the last 24 hours. I want to start my mayoralty as I intend to go on. I want this to be the most transparent, honest and accessible administration London has ever seen.”

Mr Khan said his “burning ambition” was for people all across the capital to have the same opportunities he enjoyed.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led congratulations on Twitter using the hashtag YesWeKhan, telling the new mayor: “Can’t wait to work with you to create a London that is fair for all”.

But he was conspicuously absent from the formal signing-in ceremony.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband, a close ally of Mr Khan, Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe - of whom Mr Khan will be scrutineer-in-chief - and campaigner Baroness Lawrence, mother of murdered black teenager Stephen, were all present as Dean of Southwark Andrew Nunn told the congregation Mr Khan’s victory brought a “carnival atmosphere” to the sacred building.

Meanwhile Conservatives defended Zac Goldsmith’s London mayoral campaign after Sadiq Khan secured a resounding win for Labour in the capital.

The Tooting MP became London’s first Muslim mayor after securing 57% support following a bitter campaign which saw senior Tories try to link him to Islamic extremists.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, one of those who hit out at Mr Khan, said it was all part of the “rough and tumble” of an election campaign.