Nick Tyrone Nick Tyrone

Sadiq Khan’s victory is good news for the Tories

Sadiq Khan is here to stay. London’s mayor has suggested he wants to stay on until 2040. But is this really good news for Labour? Or might the Tories be quietly pleased that Khan beat Shaun Bailey?

In the coming years, one of Khan’s tasks will be to go cap in hand to the government asking for money. Transport for London (TfL), which Khan is in charge of, is in dire financial straits. TfL is desperate for cash: its fare revenues have collapsed by 90 per cent since the pandemic took hold. Even as commuters start to return to offices, London’s transport network will need money to stay afloat. But when Khan inevitably comes knocking, Boris will be able to repeat his trick from last year – and point the finger of blame at London’s mayor for bungling the finances.

Over the coming years, Khan is likely to make matters worse for his party

Of course, the reality is that this isn’t really Khan’s fault. London is one of the few cities in the world that does not receive government funding to support the operating costs of its transport network. Khan can hardly be blamed for collapsing revenue given what has unfolded over the last year. Nonetheless, it is easy to see how the Tories could spin this line very effectively – and paint a narrative that Labour can’t be trusted with spending taxpayers’ money.

This isn’t the only thing about Khan’s win that makes life easier for the Tories than if Bailey had triumphed. A Labour-dominated London allows Boris to suggest the opposition party represents rich Londoners but doesn’t speak for those who live far from the capital. Boris has already repeatedly taunted Keir Starmer as being an ‘Islington lawyer’. Having a Labour mayor will only bolster Boris’s attacks.

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