The current London Mayor reminded the Labour Party they could end up losing the contest – just two months after they catastrophically lost in the December election, triggering leader Jeremy Corbyn’s departure. In a stark warning over how territory can quickly change, using Scotland and the North as an example, he said: “Don’t presume that the reason why Labour has worked in London is because of something inherent in London. “Ten years ago, people said Scotland is a Labour country, so we must never be complacent. The reason we did well in London was because of damn hard work and leadership.”
Mr Khan also gave his own insight into why he believed Labour lost so badly in the general election.
He said: “You can’t equivocate on some of the most important issues of the day like Brexit and sit on the fence. You end up pleasing nobody.”
Despite this, he said he could teach Labour a thing or two about winning elections.
He said: “There was a route to winning the election where I could just rely upon those who’ve always voted Labour to win.
“That’s not the sort of mayor I wanted to be. I hope I’ve shown I am a mayor for all boroughs. The same goes for national politics.”
He added: “Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to chief executives, investors, innovators but also…to people who work in retail, hospitality and bus depots.”
When asked about who he would vote for in the Labour leadership contest, he said simply it would take “a lot” for him to vote for Rebecca Long-Bailey.
He added: “We’re going to have to learn the lessons of the past and choose somebody who’s going to get back into the habit of winning again.”
Three candidates remain in the Labour leadership race – shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.
Sir Keir looks set to win the top job but an upset isn’t out of the question.
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Sir Kier won the backing of Unison, the shopworkers’ union Usdaw, and the Socialist Environment and Resources Association (Sera), an affiliate group, and workers’ union Community.
A supporter of remaining in the EU, Sir Keir was director of public prosecutions before becoming MP for Holborn and St Pancras in 2015.
But critics have accused him of pushing Labour into its “renegotiate then referendum” Brexit position ahead of the 2019 election, which produced the worst electoral defeat since 1935.
In his candidate statement, Sir Kier said: “I’m now standing to be leader of our Labour Party because I’m determined to unite our movement, take on the Tories and build a better future.
“Labour only wins when we’re united and when we have a radical vision of the future that people can trust.”
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Ms Long-Bailey has had the backing of campaign group Momentum.
Ms Nandy last week won the backing of the Jewish Labour Movement.
The new leader to take over from Mr Corbyn will be announced in April.
Meanwhile, the new London Mayor will be announced next month in March.
Mr Khan is up against Shaun Bailey and Rory Stewart.