Sadiq Khan Foresees New Era in Relations with Government

Mayor says he will lobby for new powers and cash for affordable housing

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan

July 5, 2024

Mayor says he will lobby for new powers and cash for affordable housing

Sadiq Khan has pledged to lobby the incoming Labour Government for new powers and billions more in funding for affordable housing in the capital.

The mayor said he was looking forward to “constant obstacles not being put in my way” with the Conservatives ousted from Whitehall.

But he also said he would continue arguing for more funds to help London tackle its housing crisis. Mr Khan has been lobbying in recent months for a £2.2bn “emergency stimulus” package to boost home-building.

Asked about that lobbying, he said that he is expecting Angela Rayner as the next Housing Secretary to “make a couple of announcements before recess to make sure that we get house-building going”.

The mayor added: “What the Labour party has said in its manifesto is they want to build 1.5million homes in the first parliamentary term… A large chunk of that should be in London.”

On the question of further devolution to City Hall, he said he “absolutely” hoped to see new powers specifically around skills training and housing handed down to mayors and regional authorities.

“What I’ve been pleased about over the last few months is, with mayors across the country, meeting regularly with Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves,” he said.

“I’m hoping that over the course of the next few days, Keir Starmer as the new Prime Minister will meet with us to discuss what powers and resources can be devolved.”

Reacting to the landslide result which unfolded over the early hours of Friday morning, the mayor said: “These results, literally, are unbelievable.

“In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined, if you and I were speaking in 2019, that within one parliamentary term, we’d be not just forming the next Government, but with the majority that we will have.”

He said that it had been “the best results in London for Labour ever”, adding: “There are no Conservative MPs in central London or inner London. It’s a great night for Labour.”

Asked for the most important factor behind the result, Mr Khan said: “Keir Starmer.

“Keir Starmer is somebody who has changed our party for the better. He’s learnt the lessons, the correct lessons, from the worst result since 1935, that we got in 2019.

“He’s changed our party, root and branch… but also, he’s made sure that we fight these elections in a tactical and strategic way,” he said, pointing out that the Labour vote was far more efficiently spread than it had been in prior elections.

In terms of what the result will mean for London, the mayor said: “The key thing that I’m looking forward to is constant obstacles not being put in my way.

“Working with, not just me as the Mayor of London, but mayors across the country in a collegiate way.

“It does not mean a blank cheque from Rachel Reeves and Keir Starmer. What it means is an open, candid relationship.

“I’ve already spoken to Keir, during the course of the night – I was in touch with him yesterday. I only wish we’d had that same sort of relationship with the Conservative Government over the last eight years.”

Noah Vickers - Local Democracy Reporter