Sadiq Khan Appeals to Progressives for Support Amidst Concerns Over New Voting System
Sadiq Khan, London's mayor, is rallying progressives to vote for him as fears grow over a new voting system that could favor the conservative Tory party. A recent legal change unknown to many will see London's mayoral election in May switch to a first past the post system, which eliminates the option of second-preference votes a feature many Liberal Democrat and Green party voters previously used to support Khan.
An Opinium survey revealed just 30% of London residents are aware of this significant change. Khan's team worries that without the option for a second preference, his lead may dwindle, especially with potential challenges from the left or candidates like Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway. Concerns are also rising within Labour about losing Muslim community support and about the first past the post system potentially being a ploy to aid Tory candidate Susan Hall.
Despite Labour's unease with the new system, Khan ambitiously seeks a third term in office. He is urging voters from progressive parties to cast their ballot for him, pointing out the increased risk of a rightwing Tory win under the new system. Khan is also pressing the government to raise awareness about the voting change, arguing that failing to do so could disenfranchise voters.
The change, defended by ministers as a simplification, comes alongside a contentious voter ID requirement. The mayor's office estimates nearly 902,000 Londoners might lack the necessary ID, potentially affecting turnout. Critics of Khan's policies, such as the ultra-low emission zone, anticipate these will be key in the Conservative campaign against him. In the last mayoral election, Khan's victory margin was slimmer than expected, emphasizing the unpredictable nature of electoral outcomes.