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Sadiq Khan warns 'I could lose' May mayoral election as he hints at 2036 Olympics bid for London
4 February 2024, 17:51 | Updated: 4 February 2024, 17:59
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned that he could lose May's mayoral election to Susan Hall - as he hints that London will bid to host the 2036 Olympics if he wins a third term.
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Khan warned in an interview with the i: "The election in May is too close to call – with the Tory Government introducing new voter ID laws and a new voting system, it’s likely to be the closest contest we’ve ever seen."
He added: “I’m under no illusion, I could lose in May.”
Despite his underplaying of his own chances, Khan enjoys a healthy lead in the race according to the most-recent YouGov poll.
The survey conducted for Queen Mary University of London on 12-17 October, found Mr Khan a full 25 points ahead of Susan Hall, by 50% to 25%.
Green Zoe Garbett took 11% of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats’ Rob Blackie had 7.
Reform UK’s Howard Cox was 4%, with 3% for other candidates.
Sadiq Khan is the preferred candidate in both inner London and outer London - denting Hall's chances of winning using the "doughnut" strategy employed by Boris Johnson to win the mayoralty.
The strategy consisted of incentivising outer London to vote since those boroughs lean Conservative - and disincentivising Labour strongholds in the central boroughs to vote.
The wide-ranging interview saw Khan again hint heavily that he will bid for the 2036 Olympics if he wins May's election - suggesting that the event in London would be the "greenest ever" due to the reuse of 2012 Olympic venues in the capital.
He floated the idea as he mused on the possibility of London and Westminster being under Labour control could mean exciting times for capital residents.
Khan said: “The idea of being a London mayor with a Labour government is so exciting. The last eight years have been hard for a variety of reasons, Brexit, terror attacks, the pandemic, austerity, but I’ve had a Conservative government working against me.
“Now a Labour government isn’t going to give me everything I want, they are not going to write a blank cheque by any means, but the idea that we are all trying to achieve the same thing is so exciting.
“In 24 years there has only been one four-year period with a Labour mayor and a Labour prime minister. In that one four-year term we got funding for Crossrail, we built 8,000 council homes in one year and we got the Olympics.
“Watch this space in terms of a Labour government and Labour mayor doing some exciting stuff. The prize is this – the greenest Olympics ever. Because everything is there, we wouldn’t have to spend billions because most of it is there.”
The warning comes despite Conservative London mayoral candidate Susan Hall failed to answer questions about bus fares, police salaries, and who owns a Thames bridge in need of repairs on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.
Conservative Ms Hall, who hopes to replace Sadiq Khan as mayor of London in May, revealed the gaps in her knowledge of the capital in a phone-in in late January.
After Mr Khan announced fares on many Transport for London services would be frozen until March next year, Ms Hall declined to say if she would make changes if she became mayor.
Pressed on how much it costs to use the buses in London, Ms Hall said: "I don't use them. I use trains all the time... I use lots of trains to get around London."
After Nick told her that a bus fare is £1.75, Ms Hall said that was "why buses are good", although she added: "I don't know the profitability".
Ms Hall, who was the leader of the Conservatives in the London Assembly until last year, added: "I listened to you say they promised this and that and they don't know where the money's come from.
"I'm saying to you, there's lots of things I'd like to do. But it's it's impossible for me to say until I know what money there is."
Ms Hall has consistently pushed to reform the Metropolitan Police, and said she would invest £200 million in the force.
But she revealed on Monday that she doesn't know a London police officer's starting salary, which is nearly £37,000.
Asked by Nick how much an officer is paid when they are first hired, Ms Hall said: "I think they started about 30-something and it goes up from there".