Sadiq Khan, who has been re-elected as Labour’s MP for Tooting, resigned as shadow justice secretary and shadow minister for London on Monday (17), before launching his bid for London mayor on Wednesday.
The former lawyer, who was elected for his third term last Friday (8), joined Tottenham MP David Lammy and transport commentator Christian Wolmar as a Labour candidate to succeed Tory mayor Boris Johnson this week.
Dame Tessa Jowell, who stepped down as MP for Dulwich and West Norwood before the election, and Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, are also expected to formally announce their challenges shortly.
Harrow West MP, Gareth Thomas, is also considering running and will be making his decision in the next few days.
In the capital, Labour gained seven seats after last week’s general election, taking its total to 45 out of 73 and increasing its vote share to 44 per cent compared to 37 per cent in the 2010 election.
Khan was instrumental in Labour’s success in London, spearheading its campaign in the city.
The father of two spoke to Eastern Eye at Wandsworth Town Hall in the early hours of Friday as the results rolled in.
Despite increasing his majority by 318 votes from 2010, the politician appeared deflated following the shock results from the exit polls.
“I’m hoping they have got it wrong. They tend not to get it wrong, but until we get the results in, we can’t really form a conclusion. We’ll have to wait and see how bad things are in Scotland,” he told EE.
“I’m humbled to be returned for the third time, it’s emotional because people put their hope and trust in you.
“I’ve literally had hundreds of people campaigning for me and in their spare time, going to support other candidates in London. We have got some great candidates across the country, many of them black, Asian and minority ethnics. I want to see what happens to them,” he added.
Khan, the son of a bus driver who was raised on a council estate, said he was humbled to return as MP for the south London seat which had a “small ethnic minority” population.
“It shows that actually the fact that you are an ethnic minority you are not disadvantaged. If you are a hard-working politician, a hard-working MP, people will vote for you irrespective of your background.”
In a letter to Harriet Harman, Labour’s acting leader, Khan explained his decision to step down from the shadow cabinet on Monday.
“I’m naturally devastated that there won’t be a Labour justice secretary to repair the damage done by the coalition over the last five years. But after a period of reflection, I have decided that I should step down from serving in the shadow cabinet. This is an opportunity for others to take on a leading role as we start the fight back for 2020,” he said.
In response, Harman wished him luck, saying: “You have been an outstanding shadow justice secretary and shadow minister for London. In the last parliament, you played a key role in ensuring that the Tory-led government was held to account for its damaging changes to the justice system as well as successfully preventing the attempt to gerrymander constituency boundaries.”