Politics

Sadiq Khan makes direct plea to Europeans in London ahead of Mayoral election

Sadiq Khan has made a direct plea to the one million EU citizens living in London to support him in May’s mayoral election – the last time they could be allowed to vote before new Brexit rules come into force.

In an open letter, published in Tuesday’s Evening Standard, the Labour Mayor said “there has never been a starker choice” between his support for the capital’s European communities and his Tory rival Susan Hall. Mr Khan said: “London has always been a European city. European Londoners are our friends, our neighbours, and our colleagues, and they help make London the greatest city in the world.

“This election is a huge moment. As Mayor I will always stand up for the cherished European values of openness and tolerance. “But my hard-right Tory candidate is the exact opposite. “There has never been a starker choice for European Londoners at a Mayoral election – which is a close two-horse race between me and the Tory candidate.”

The poll on May 2 will be the last time that many EU citizens automatically have the right to vote in local elections in England. People from Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg and Poland, where the UK has reciprocal agreements in place, and those who were resident in the UK before on January 1 2021, will retain their voting rights after the new laws come into place on May 7.

Londoners have one week left to register to vote in the London Assembly elections. For the first time, ID will be required at polling stations. Mr Khan warned that as many as 900,000 Londoners are estimated not to have valid photo ID. He said it was likely that “vast numbers of European Londoners may not have heard about the rule changes, and could be caught out when they arrive at the polling station”. “I’m also deeply worried about changes to the voting system which may mean European Londoners could lose their right to vote,” he added. “So today I make an appeal to every single Londoner – make sure you’re registered to vote, and make sure you turn up to the polling station on May 2 with valid ID.”

Mr Khan has been a fierce critic of the Government’s immigration and Brexit policies. He has spoken out about about new visa rules for foreign workers, branding them an “economic own goal” and detrimental to London. He has also argued that migrants are “critical” to the capital’s public services and economy and called for young people to be able to freely move to and from the EU, arguing it would “benefit us economically, culturally and socially”.

Conservative candidate Susan Hall said: “Sadiq Khan has overseen skyrocketing crime due to his mismanagement of our city and the police, and when he’s caught out he tries to distract by banging on about Brexit. “The truth is Londoners are fed up with Sadiq Khan after eight years of failure and want a change at City Hall, not a rehash of the referendum.”

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