Khan keen to show he means business

20 January 2016, Blog

The recent publication of the Beckett Report on Labour’s general election loss in 2015 will be a clear reminder to candidates going into elections this May about the trouble the party had convincing the business community. One candidate giving the party’s attitude to business considerable thought is Sadiq Khan. The former human rights lawyer and transport minister turned London mayoral candidate has thus far visited the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors, London First, CBI, London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the City of London Corporation and TheCityUK in his campaign.

The response has been largely positive. Despite much comment being off the record with the aim of not endorsing a particular candidate, one city source said Khan “has been getting round and meeting people. Business leaders are coming away impressed”. Another added that “Zac’s engagement has been less than impressive.”

Perhaps most importantly for Khan is his attempts to distance himself from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Despite nominating Corbyn for the party leadership during last summer’s contest, one business lobby group said Khan was calming fears that he might peddle the hard-left views of Corbyn. “I don’t think business is at all worried about him. He has very much put clear water between him and the party leader,” said a spokesman off the record. However, Tory peer and The Apprentice star Karren Brady has criticised Khan for being the man behind Ed Miliband when he “turned Labour into an anti-business party”, adding that Labour still “see business as the enemy.”

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