Rebuilding community relations (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 25, 2016
Question By: 
Kemi Badenoch
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Kemi Badenoch AM:  Thank you, Chair.  I am so pleased that this question was asked and by who better than Assembly Member Dismore, whose friendly, consensual and collegiate style of politics is so well regarded.  He has just as many friends in the Labour Party as he does in the Conservative Party. 


I welcome the comments that you made, Mr Mayor.  It is one of those very difficult things.  I speak as a woman from an ethnic minority background.  There does seem to be a narrative where some people think there are saints and sinners.  There are issues on all sides and in all parties.


Since reference has been made to the Conservative campaign, there is one thing that I would like to say which is that some things were phrased clumsily.  It is a shame that people were talking about you stealing family gold when actually it was a reference to a Labour Party policy of last year.  However, I do not want us to get into what was discussed in the 2016 mayoral election. 


What I would like to say is that there were serious issues around anti-Semitism as well.  One of the things you said when I asked my first question was that your top priority was dealing with hate crime.  As you know, the Jewish community in this country is very small.  It suffers disproportionately from online hate crime.  I was on a bus to Tooting, coincidentally, and I heard schoolchildren - I am not even going to use the words that they used - putting forward conspiracy theories about Zac Goldsmith, the Jewish candidate, Jewish media and dirty Jews.  It was disgusting.


Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  Do you think we could come to a question, please?


Kemi Badenoch AM:  Yes.  My question is that given the issues that the Labour Party had with anti-Semitism, I want to know what you will do to rebuild community relations within that context.  It is all very well talking about celebrating diversity days.  I want to know about hate crime.  What specific things will you be doing to tackle it?  That is what will make a difference in community relations, not just what put people on leaflets.


Answer for Rebuilding community relations (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Rebuilding community relations (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  To give the Assembly Member’s question some context, over the last year there has been an increase of more than 60% in anti-Semitic crimes in London.  There has been an increase of almost 40% in Islamophobic attacks in London.  There has been an increase of almost 30% in homophobic crimes in London.  All are going up.


This is in the most progressive city in the world.  As the Mayor I have made it quite clear to the Commissioner - and I have made this point previously during the course of MQT - that a top priority for the police has to be zero tolerance towards hate crime.  We have to make sure that we use whatever opportunity we can to get those people who may not mix with other communities a chance to do so.  The phrase used is “social bridges”.  There are policies and levers we have to encourage integration.  We have to use those levers.  We have to set an example here as well in City Hall.  If the police service looks more like the community it seeks to police, it would encourage people to have more confidence to come forward to report crime. 


I have made the comment during the campaign that some of the views you talked about, I am afraid, are not as exceptional as you think.  People like me are more effective at busting those myths, the conspiracy theories you referred to.  It is morally important that we do so but you are right, no one party has a monopoly in relation to being superior to the other.  All of us have things we can be proud of, all of us need to address certain issues and stuff, and you are right to remind me that it is not simply the Conservative party that needs to look at itself.  We do as well.  As the Mayor of all Londoners, I ought to be somebody who puts aside party politics to, with you and others, try to make our city even better than it is. 


Kemi Badenoch AM:  Thank you for that.  I appreciate it.  I do have one final question on this and it is a follow‑up to Assembly Member Dismore’s comments about Ken Livingstone.  It is a little bit closer to home because it regards someone who was a Member of the Assembly during the campaign.  Murad Qureshi sent a tweet ‑ I am sure you know all about this ‑ saying, “You can get away with deeply offending anyone in this country as long as they are not Jewish”.  This is not a trick question; this is just me asking you, as the Mayor, about the way you choose to handle this.  Would you be willing to go as far as to say that those people who are perhaps on the reserve on the list should not be allowed into the Assembly if they make comments like that?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chair, I am not sure of the comments or the context or whatever, but if he said those things the Labour Party should look into those things. 


Kemi Badenoch AM:  Thank you.