Sadiq Khan's powerful response to protesters shouting abuse at police officers

2 June 2020, 14:07 | Updated: 2 June 2020, 15:02

By Seán Hickey

After footage from Sunday's Black Lives Matter protests showed some demonstrators verbally abusing police, the Mayor of London was quick to condemn offenders.

After protests in Trafalgar Square showing solidarity with demonstrations in the US moved towards Downing Street on Sunday, footage showed some activists using foul language towards officers. Iain wanted to know Sadiq Khan's reaction to the footage.

"I have met police officers who have ran towards terrorists" he began, adding that he, in his time as Mayor of London has met the families of officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Mr Khan accepted that "our police aren't perfect" but argued to listeners that "the progress we've made over the last 20 years has been humongous."

He condemned the actions of some protesters in their abuse of the police, telling Iain that "some of the language used against police officers, who by the way are protecting democratically elected politicians, is utterly unacceptable."

The conversation began with Sadiq Khan sharing his concern about the easing of lockdown. "I'm a bit concerned in relation to the conflicting scientific evidence" he said.

Mr Khan was critical of the slow roll out of the test trace isolate system "which is so important and could potentially be a gamechanger" but is not being used. He added that "the new cases still seem to be too high" for an easing of lockdown.

The Mayor of London feared that "we may be going a few days or a week too early." Iain argued that government policy "can't just be dominated by the science" and there has to be a recognition of the sacrifices that have been made by people that have missed out on vital services as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Khan agreed with Iain's argument but maintained that he would have liked to see government explaining the situation better to the population, citing conversations he's had with business owners that are confused by easing regulations. "There's not been enough of those conversations from those people in power" he said.

Going back to his concern that easing is happening too early, Sadiq Khan warned that "if there is a second peak that overwhelms the NHS, it will cause huge economic damage as well as a loss of life."

Rush hour at Waterloo Station
Rush hour at Waterloo Station. Picture: PA

Iain tackled the controversy surrounding Jeremy Corbyn and his comments on the Equality and Human Rights Commission. "I don't think he should be criticising the EHRC" Mr Khan was quick to insist and added that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer "will take seriously whatever the EHRC say" and supported "Jewish friends" that had initially flagged concerns to the commission.

The topic of Brexit came up after the Mayor had written to Michael Gove encouraging him to apply for an extension to the withdrawal agreement. "You are kind of playing politics" Iain said, which Mr Khan denied.

He stated that the government's "entire bandwidth has been preoccupied by Covid-19" and doesn't think that in this scenario a good deal can be negotiated.

He implored the government to extend just to get breathing space on the matter and to be able to negotiate from a more comfortable standpoint. "Let's try get a deal with the EU because leaving the EU without a deal on top of Covid-19 I think will be catastrophic."

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