• Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Sadiq Khan: I started ‘speaking posh’ when I felt like an outsider

Khan grew up in a council estate in Tooting, south London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks on stage at Gay Pride on July 01, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Hall/Getty Images for Pride In London)

By: Pramod Thomas

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed that he started ‘speaking posh’ to fit in when he felt like an outsider in his younger days.

Khan told the Big Fish podcast it was like speaking two languages as he would talk so differently at home.

The son of a Pakistani bus driver, Khan grew up in a council estate in Tooting, south London.

According to him, the place he grew up was ‘light years away’ from the world of law and politics.

Khan said he changed the way he spoke at law school to sound more posh.

“I was raised on a council estate. My dad was a bus driver. To go from that background to being a lawyer first, then a parliamentarian, was just light years away from my experience growing up,” The Telegraph quoted Khan as saying.

“So when I first went to law school – I went to this really posh law school in Guilford, the College of Law – I started changing the way I speak to fit in. To sound posher.”

The 52 year-old worked as a human rights lawyer before going into politics. He has been the mayor since 2016.

Khan said altering one’s way of speaking is quite simple.

“I’m not an actor, but you can change the way you speak. I then became a trainee solicitor, and I was still speaking in the posher way,” Khan told the podcast.

He described his speech as almost bilingual, using a posh tone at work and reverting to his normal way of speaking while at home.

Khan said that a conversation with one of his clients made him realise that he was trying to be something he was not.

He added, “I realised then that being authentic whether you’re a lawyer or a politician is far more important. Because I speak differently, I stand out. Because I have different coloured skin, I stand out. Because I’m short, I stand out. Of course, there were times I felt like an outsider.”

Eastern Eye

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