Sadiq Khan lashes out at ‘racist, Islamophobic, anti-Muslim nonsense’ and blasts ‘weak’ Sunak

29 February 2024, 10:22 | Updated: 29 February 2024, 11:59

Suella Braverman's 'Islamist' comments went further than Lee Anderson, Sadiq Khan says

By Emma Soteriou

Sadiq Khan has lashed out at ‘racist, Islamophobic, anti-Muslim nonsense’ as he blasted ‘weak’ Rishi Sunak for not taking firmer action.

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Speaking during an LBC call-in, Mr Khan said he was "appalled" and "heartbroken" about Islamophobic comments being made against him.

He accused Rishi Sunak of being a "weak" leader, saying the PM should be bringing communities together but instead he felt "let down".

Mr Sunak has had several opportunities to deal with the issue but has chosen not to, the mayor said.

He explained: "Sunak is weak because if he did the right thing and called out this man for what he said and what it is then, it begs the question, what about Braverman? What about other members of the Conservative party?

"He's a weak leader and for the next few weeks and months we’ll have more of this. The consequence of that is it normalises hatred against Muslims."

It comes after Lee Anderson, the former deputy chairman of the Conservative party, claimed that Islamists had "got control" of Mr Khan and were in charge of London.

He was responding to a claim by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman that Islamists were running Britain.

Mr Anderson was suspended on Saturday after refusing to apologise for his comments.

Read more: ‘Red flags’ about Sarah Everard’s killer should have seen him kicked out of police, Sadiq Khan tells LBC

The mayor criticised Rishi Sunak's response
The mayor criticised Rishi Sunak's response. Picture: Alamy

"It feels like every day we have to justify our existence. Every day we have to show how much we’ve integrated, every day we’ve got to show out loyalty to the flag and this city. Every day somebodies questioning us and our sense of belonging. It’s so frustrating.

"And if I’m feeling this way, imagine what it feels like to be a young British person growing up in Burnley, or Birmingham or in Tower Hamlets when you’ve got this nonsense – racist, Islamophobic, anti-Muslim nonsense – from a senior Conservative and it’s not called out.

Read more: Police 'looking into hate speech complaint against Lee Anderson' after MP said Sadiq Khan was controlled by Islamists

Read more: Sadiq Khan 'facing death threats from Islamists and needs round-the-clock police protection'

Watch Again: Speak to Sadiq with James O'Brien

"It should be called out and I think those conservatives who have failed to call it out will live to regret this.

"We must give credit to the Sayeeda Warsis, Sajid Javids, Nusrat Ghanis - they have called it out. But it shouldn’t just be Muslims calling it out in the Tory party. Where is the allyship?

Mr Khan said he was "grateful" to have received lovely messages from Tory MPs privately but people need to be called out in public too and demand action.

"This is no longer subtle, this is overt and I want everyone to have a sense of belonging in this great city and country," Mr Khan said.