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London has its first Muslim mayor - but who is he?

Photographer | Collection | Getty Images

It's the rags-to-riches story of a poor boy done well. Sadiq Khan is the son of a London bus driver and a seamstress. He grew up on a government funded housing estate in a poorer area of the city and attended a local state school.

But what is behind the rise of the new mayor and what will he do as chief politician of one of the world's most powerful cities?


Early Career

Prior to becoming an MP, Khan was a Human Rights lawyer who acted in actions against the police, employment and discrimination law, judicial reviews as well as inquests and crime.

During this time, Khan also represented the Tooting area as a Labour party Councilor for the London Borough of Wandsworth from 1994 to 2006.

In the May 2005 general election he moved to the national stage after winning the vote to become the Member of Parliament for Tooting.

In doing so, he became the first MP of Islamic faith to win election in London.


Member of Parliament

Serving under the Tony Blair cabinet, Sadiq Khan signed an open letter critical of his party's counter terrorism and foreign policy.

In 2008, The Sunday Times claimed that a conversation between Khan and a man later convicted of terrorism was recorded by police.

He also hit the headlines around this time for criticizing the Pope, following remarks from a Catholic bishop in relation to the Holocaust.

Under Gordon Brown's premiership in 2008, Khan was promoted to Minister of State for Communities and then Minister of State for Transport.

After regaining his Tooting seat in 2010, and with his party now in opposition, Khan then set about running the successful campaign to appoint Ed Miliband as the next leader of the Labour party.

Last year, he won his Tooting seat for a third straight term and offered lukewarm support to Jeremy Corbyn, the new left wing leader of the U.K. opposition.


Policies & views

The 45-year-old is viewed as politically to the right of the current Labour leadership and has been described by one journalist as a center-left social democrat.

On winning the Labour party nomination to run for London Mayor, he centered his campaign on the following policies:

  • Tackling London's housing shortage
  • Putting a freeze on transport fares
  • A promise to work with business on skills and growth
  • Making London a 'Living Wage City'
  • Returning London's air quality to safe levels

Personal life

Married a solicitor in 1994. The couple has two daughters.

Khan claims to be a keen follower of sport, supporting Liverpool FC in soccer and Surrey County Cricket Club. He is also a governor of two local primary schools.