Keir Starmer vows to meet former Labour mayor who quit party over racism

12 October 2020, 15:19

By Sam Sholli

Speaking on LBC's Call Keir, Sir Keir Starmer vowed that he will meet the UK’s first hijab-wearing mayor who resigned from the Labour Party citing concerns over racism.

Cllr Rakhia Ismail, who left her post as Mayor of Islington last month, left the party while claiming that she had been left marginalised by a “system that allows white men to have what they want, when they want”.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari this morning, Cllr Ismail did not accuse Sir Keir of racism directly but she did say he was "not interested to listen to people like [her]".

Having met with Sir Keir during his Labour leadership campaign, Cllr Ismail also told Nick of her unhappiness at "still waiting" for the Labour leader to endorse a campaign to tackle knife crime that she was involved with.

However, the Labour leader this morning himself responded to Cllr Ismail's claims during his monthly phone-in Call Keir.

Sir Keir said: "I met Rakhia during the leadership campaign along with another whole bunch of community leaders, and we had a very good discussion including about knife crime..."

He added: "Actually on knife crime in particular, I have been heading up a task-force for the last two years in Camden to tackle the problem...We've done a huge amount of work, including with the Somali community.

"I have worked closely with the Somali community, both locally and nationally. I do listen a lot, get out a lot..."

The Labour leader then promised to meet Cllr Ismail, who had been a Labour member for more than 12 years before leaving the party.

Sir Keir said: "If Rakhia feels that notwithstanding all of that she has not been heard in this, then what I would say back to her on-air is I'll meet her and talk it through with her."