Sadiq Khan calls for 'hope over fear' as London mayoral race enters final straight


Sadiq Khan will urge Londoners to choose "hope over fear" as the bitter race for City Hall enters its closing stages.

In his last major speech before Thursday's vote, Labour's Khan will focus on housing policy, warning that Tory rival Zac Goldsmith and the Government do not want to build more "genuinely affordable homes".

His speech comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tore into the Tory election tactics, which have sought to link Khan to Islamic extremists.

London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan will talk housing as the mayoral race enters its final stages (Yui Mok/PA)

Corbyn said: "I'm appalled and alarmed by it. The way in which they are trying to denigrate Sadiq for his faith ... He's a figure that wants to unite not divide."

The Labour leader told the Daily Mirror: "I am surprised and disappointed. Zac Goldsmith is somebody I always assumed was a sort of liberal Tory, good on the environment and everything.

"He's run a depressingly negative, nasty campaign personally vilifying Sadiq Khan. It's no way to conduct politics."

Sadiq Khan
Khan wants to end his campaign on a positive note of 'hope not fear' (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Khan will use his final campaign speech to say: "I ask Londoners today to choose hope over fear.

"And to give me the chance to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunities that our city gave to me and my family.

"So that I can be a mayor for all Londoners."

London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan with Conservative opposition Zac Goldsmith
Conservative candidate for mayor Zac Goldsmith (Yui Mok/PA)

Khan will attack the Conservatives' Housing and Planning Bill, which is being debated in the Commons after being comprehensively rewritten in the House of Lords, where the Government was defeated 13 times.

The Tooting MP will warn that the Bill's plans would mean the forced sell-off of family-sized council homes - potentially to overseas investors and buy-to-let landlords.

Under the plans, the new "affordable" properties that replace them could include "starter homes" costing up to £450,000.

London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan
Khan has issues with the current housing Bill passing through the Commons (Frank Augstein/AP)

Khan will say: "This Bill is a disaster for affordable housing in London, and Zac Goldsmith has defended it at every step of the way.

"Which is why I can say with surety that if he wins on Thursday there will be no change on housing in London. Just more of the same.

"And judged against the record of the last four years of a Tory mayor, it is Londoners who will pay the price."

The London skyline dominated by the Shard and 20 Fenchurch Street - the Walkie Talkie building
London is up for grabs during the elections on May 5 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Khan has vowed to create a new Homes for Londoners agency to expand the availability of affordable homes.

"Young Londoners will be able to dream about owning their own home again," he will say.

"Older Londoners will feel more sure that their children and grandchildren will be able to live nearby if they choose to. And all of London will feel more secure and confident as a result."