Now Jeremy Corbyn has passed his first electoral test in Oldham West, the Conservatives are focusing on the next one: the 2016 London Mayor election. CCHQ has launched SadiqWatch today, a new website which shows off the Tories’ lines of attack against Sadiq Khan for the first time. Just like the Not Ken Again site from the 2012 Mayoral race, the videos and graphics don’t mention they’re from the Tories, but the site’s footer does say (in small print) they are produced at CCHQ.
The most striking attack line is in the standfirst of SadiqWatch: ‘Holding Corbyn’s candidate to account’. As one of the 35 Labour MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader, the Tories are planning to say that Corbyn and Khan are inextricably linked. The site argues that there was a 90 per cent crossover of voters between the two and Khan was crowned as the Labour candidate thanks to Corbyn. The problem Khan faces is that the Labour leader may be popular in his native Islington, but the rest of the capital, particularly the suburbs, may not feel so enthusiastic for the New Politics. If he can’t distance himself from Corbyn, it may cost him the campaign.
The first attack video from SadiqWatch, a whole 149 days until Mayoral polling day, highlights Khan’s flipflopping on a third runway at Heathrow and his close links to the trade unions — despite being in favour of Boris’ beleaguered Night Tube programme, which has been stalled by strikes:
Who is Sadiq Khan?At May’s mayoral election, Londoners will choose whether to build on the progress Boris has made over the last 7 years – or allow it to go to waste.Please SHARE this important video to let friends know that we cannot afford to risk handing London to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and Sadiq Khan:
Posted by Conservatives on Monday, 7 December 2015
The Tories appear to be playing around with various messages. As Theo Bertram, a former Labour adviser points out, this may be a sign that the party is struggling to decide which is the most effective way to discredit Khan. But there is a plenty of material on offer — Ken Livingstone is another target, who is helpfully still in the limelight and causing headaches for Labour:
As well as his stance on corporation tax:
The Tories appear to be still playing around with several messages. As Theo Bertram, a former Labour adviser points out, the Tories may be struggling to decide which is the most effective way to discredit Khan with.
The Tories will naturally receive the same treatment from Labour about their candidate, Zac Goldsmith, some time soon. Team Khan will inevitably highlight the differences in background, as well as Goldsmith’s contrasting positions with David Cameron on airports and the environment. Given that SadiqWatch has launched so far in advance of polling day with clear and concise messages, it confirms that the Tories — along with CTF, Lynton Crosby’s political consultancy firm — will be using the same tough but effective tactics that put Boris into City Hall twice.