The world needed “a global response to this global virus, coming together rather than using this as another excuse to divide communities and divide countries and divide nations and divide ethnicities,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: (Photo: Luke Dray/Getty Images)
Eastern Eye Staff
THE first mayoral poll of the year shows that Sadiq Khan is “on course” for a second term at City Hall.
The London mayor notched up a two-to-one lead over Conservative challenger Shaun Bailey in a YouGov poll that surveyed 1,002 Londoners.
Khan raked in 49 per cent votes, an increase of four basis points since November, trailed by Bailey with 24 per cent, up by a point, and independent candidate Rory Stewart, who maintained 13 per cent.
In the case of second preferences votes, Khan was projected to win 67 to 33 per cent, in a Labour vs Tory faceoff. Pitted against Stewart, the victory margin narrowed to 59 to 41 per cent.
Analysts said the poll indicated that Bailey, who had been selected as Tory candidate, was “still unknown” to about two-thirds of Londoners, as 66 to 74 per cent voters said they “don’t know” when asked attributes applicable to him.
Except for pro-Brexit voters, the majority of most categories—white and BME voters, professional classes and manual workers—opted for Khan as their primary choice.
“Sadiq Khan remains on course for a comfortable victory, only just missing out winning in the first round,” said Philip Cowley, professor of politics at Queen Mary University, which commissioned the poll.
Ahead of the May 7 election, Khan faced the daunting task of handling the coronavirus outbreak, with London registering 104 of 460 cases in the UK as on Wednesday (11).
Khan maintained that he would “all that it takes” to minimise the outbreak’s impact on London.
One of his primary concerns was Transport for London.
After a meeting with TfL officials, Khan said: “Along with trialling new longer lasting cleaning fluid, [the measures] will help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. I want to reassure Londoners and visitors that the advice from experts is to continue with our daily lives as normal, including using public transport.”
The mayor maintained that there was no need for panic, and said London was hoping to host key Euro 2020 matches this summer.
Khan said City Hall officials were going ahead with preparations for the football tournament, and coordinating with UEFA.
He said the St Patrick’s Day events scheduled on Sunday (15) and the London Marathon on April 26 remained unchanged, adding that “other actions will be taken” if required.
After a meeting with the government’s chief medical adviser Professor Chris Whitty, Khan said: “At the moment, from St Patrick’s Day this Sunday to the Marathon in a few weeks’ time to the Euro 2020s, and before that the mayoral elections, there is no reason at all to change any of these things.”
Queried specifically on Euro 2020, he said: “Absolutely—no reason at all for us to change our trajectory, but at the same time the prudent thing to do is to plan for all eventualities.”
On the London Marathon, a spokesman said the government’s “current advice is that all mass events should still go ahead”.