Sadiq Khan has won the first trade union endorsements of the race to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London next year. Both Unite and GMB, two of the UK’s biggest unions, have put their support behind the Tooting MP’s campaign.
The decision by Unite union was made by lay members after a hustings featuring Khan, Tessa Jowell, David Lammy, Diane Abbott and Christian Wolmar – Gareth Thomas was unable to make the event and sent a written statement.
Unite’s Peter Kavanagh said that it was important that the London Labour Party now hands over to “the next generation”. In a statement, he said:
“Sadiq Khan has won the endorsement of Unite in London because this city needs change.It is now time to hand over to the next generation. London needs a leader who understands that this city is at a crossroads – we need a mayor who will challenge head-on the growing inequality that is damaging our great capital, forcing out the very people who make it the best city in the world and make their priority the jobs, homes, decent wages and public services urgently needed to sustain this city for its people.The decision to support Sadiq was taken at a meeting addressed by all Mayoral candidates. They put their case to Unite members, including bus drivers, taxi drivers, charity workers, health workers, printers, bank employees, disabled people, women and hospitality workers. It was our members who then decided to give Sadiq Khan their backing.For this city to thrive, we need a mayor committed to giving young and working people genuine hope of a job, home and a life in London. Sadiq is London born and bred. He has seen and understands the London the ordinary people live and work in, which is why Unite members can have faith that he will work tirelessly with all of London’s communities to create a city with opportunity for all.”
Sadiq Khan responded:
“I’m pleased to have the support of a movement which represents hundreds of thousands of Londoners. I know the difference trade unions make to people’s lives from my own family experiences. My dad was a bus driver and had a union to protect his pay and conditions. My mum was a seamstress and just didn’t get the same protection. I look forward to working with all Londoners to change London together.”
These are the first union endorsements of any of the leader, deputy leader, or mayoral races, which will all conclude in September.