When Sadiq Khan took to the stage at Labour’s conference last year, his none-too-subtle message to Jeremy Corbyn was a lecture on the importance of winning power. Now, a year on, some Corbynistas are determined not to give the London Mayor the same opportunity to speak up – as we have already seen in the conference.
Khan was reportedly denied a slot on the main stage this time around. That decision was then reversed in the wake of a backlash by one of the big unions, as Katy Balls reports. But the row over whether Khan should be allowed to speak isn’t over yet. As proceedings kicked off this morning, one Labour member took to the stage to call for Khan to be blocked from speaking (see the video above). The member in question admitted that, as this year’s conference in Brighton was his first ever, he wasn’t there to hear Khan at last year’s gathering in Liverpool. Yet he said it was vital the party focus on giving a platform to people like himself, rather than the elected Mayor of London. ‘No offence, but we see him on TV all the time’, he said. Not everyone agreed: another Labour member took to the stage to say it was ‘ridiculous’ to try and block Khan from speaking by tabling a motion denying the stage to the London mayor. This earned him a chorus of boos from the audience, and probably not for the only time at this year’s conference, the audience had to be told to ‘be respectful’ by Labour’s Glenis Willmott.
Fortunately for the London Mayor, this motion was rejected – and Khan will be allowed to address Labour’s conference. But despite having the biggest personal mandate of any Labour politician, it isn’t clear what type of reception he will get when he does takes to the stage.