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Khan launches ‘love letter’ campaign in bid to woo Lib Dems and Greens

Sadiq Khan has issued a plea for Liberal Democrat and Green supporters to back him as he seeks a third term as London’s mayor.

In a pitch to “fellow progressives”, Mr Khan has launched what he describes as a “love letter” campaign to persuade supporters of other parties to “lend him their votes” in the election on May 2.

The mayor said he was “under no illusion” about his chances, saying he “could lose” to the Conservatives’ Susan Hall due to changes in the voting system and arguing the election was “on a knife edge”.

In previous contests, Londoners have been able to express a first and second preference, but this year’s election will be held under the “first past the post” system, meaning voters will only get one vote each.

He said: “This election represents a real shift with major changes to the voting system brought in by the Tory Government to make it more likely their candidate will win.

“To all of those who gave me their second preference votes last time, I say thank you, and ask that you put your trust in me this year by lending me the sole vote you can cast for mayor.

“This election is a close two-horse race between me and the Conservative candidate. I’m under no illusion, I could lose in May.”

In an open letter to Liberal Democrat and Green supporters, Mr Khan added: “At the last London Mayoral election, in 2021, I was less than 5% ahead after the first round of voting.

“These are the finer margins we’ll now be dealing with. That’s why, today, I am making a direct appeal to Liberal Democrat and Green voters across our city to lend me their support to keep the Tories out and progressive politics in. Unlike last time around, there is no insurance policy with a second choice.

“I am asking for their help so that we don’t wake up in six weeks’ time to find our city’s cherished values at serious risk with a hardline Conservative in City Hall.”

Ulez expansion court case
Conservative Susan Hall is Sadiq Khan’s main challenger for the London mayoral election (James Manning/PA)

Mr Khan is set to launch his “love letter” campaign on Saturday with a visit to Kingston, in south-west London, a borough that has often backed the Liberal Democrats and has a council dominated by the party.

He will also urge voters to ensure they have photo ID, which they will need for the first time in order to vote in May’s election.

Analysis of the electoral roll by the mayor’s office suggested more than 900,000 Londoners could lack the necessary ID to vote.

Zoe Garbett, who is vying to become London’s first Green mayor, said: “If people want to vote Green, they can – and should! The Green Party has consistently come third in London and we are a growing force nationally.

“Green Assembly members have a track record of delivering for Londoners. A Green mayor would be much more ambitious tackling the issues that really matter to voters: dealing with the housing crisis, making our city more affordable and a more accountable police service.

“Sadiq Khan should be focusing on his record – and the fact he isn’t suggests there isn’t much to be talking about. If he wants people to vote for him, he and the Labour Party need to be better.”

The Liberal Democrats’ mayoral candidate, Rob Blackie, said: “The Mayor has such a poor record that he can only resort to scaring people with the threat of the Conservatives.

“Support for the Conservatives in London is in freefall and it’s obvious why: the party and their candidate has nothing in common with the values of Londoners. This couldn’t be made clearer by the latest racism row.

“While the Tory candidate will not win, Sadiq Khan doesn’t deserve a free run. Since he became Mayor, we are catching rapists half as often and the entire Met Police is in crisis.

“After eight years in charge, Londoners need a Mayor who will deliver. Liberal Democrat supporters and disappointed Khan voters should vote Liberal Democrat. ”

A spokesman for Susan Hall, the Conservative candidate, said: “Sadiq Khan’s record is so poor, the only tool he has left is playing politics. If he had listened to Londoners, he would know that they are calling for a Mayor who will get a grip of crime, build more affordable family homes and scrap the ULEZ expansion on day one. Only Susan can deliver that.”