Boxing Clever: Capital’s New King Sadiq Khan

The last London Labour mayor was Ken Livingstone.

Still one thing the freshly expelled-from-the-party Mr Livingstone and the newly-crowned Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have in common is that they are not politicians to walk away from a fight.

Mr Khan learned to box as a child growing up on a Tooting housing estate. It was to combat the racism.

He’s been landing blows and dodging punches ever since, first as a human rights lawyer with some very controversial cases and then as a Labour MP.

Here’s what you need to know about the man who now has control of the capital’s £17bn budget.

:: Son of a … Pakistani bus driver.

It’s how he describes himself and he jokes: “You wait for a Pakistani bus driver’s son to come along. Then two come along at once.”

(Business Secretary Sajid Javid is also the son of a Pakistani bus driver).

:: London Living? Council estate kid, one of eight children, attended a tough comprehensive, shared a bunk-bed until age 24.

Went to university, got a degree in law, became a human rights lawyer.

:: Married? To another lawyer. Two daughters.

Sadiq Khan and wife SaadiyaSadiq Khan and wife Saadiya

Mr Khan with his wife Saadiya

:: MP For? Tooting – since 2005. Has also been transport minister and shadow justice secretary and shadow minister for London.

:: Style? As a trained pugilist he’s used to a scrap. He was the man who successfully ran Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign.

And he is tireless.

Mr Khan should not be underestimated.

He was not expected to win the Labour candidacy – he was up against the popular Dame Tessa Jowell. But he did.

:: First job? Human rights lawyer, who became a partner at a precociously young age.

He defended, in his own words, some “unsavoury individuals” including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

In the early 2000s, Mr Khan attempted to have the ban on Farrakhan entering Britain overturned – then home secretary Jack Straw said he posed a risk to community relations.

Farrakhan had called white people “devils”, Jewish people “bloodsuckers” and said Hitler was a “great man”.

The ban was not overturned.

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Defending Farrakhan

:: What drives him? Giving back – and the fight.

Colleagues say he still enjoys the fight.

A teacher suggested that he might be better suited to a career as a lawyer, rather than one as a dentist.

In the end he chose human rights over corporate law because he wanted to give something back and not for personal gain.

:: What he’s promised to deliver? To be “a mayor for all Londoners”.

The biggest manifesto pledge was on housing – affordable housing for Londoners.

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The mayoral marathon requires endurance

Mr Khan will build more homes, offer part-buy part-rent homes, provide starter homes for under £450,000 and ring-fence new homes on brownfield sites for London people (ie not rich foreigners).

On transport, there will be a four-year fare freeze, Night Tube, better relations with transport unions to end strikes, Cross Rail 2 and even 3 and a fair market for black cab drivers.

He will sell off the water cannon Boris bought for the police to fund schemes tackling youth crime and order a Met Police armed response review to make sure the city is prepared for a terror attack.

Mr Khan has said he will make 50% of the city green and opposes a third runway at Heathrow. He says expand Gatwick.

:: Trouble ahead? Mr Khan will likely work hard to extricate himself from the troubles of the Labour party and set himself apart – remember he will have to work with a Conservative Government.

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Mates with Ed Miliband. With Jeremy Corbyn, not so much

Pundits have suggested in being mayor Mr Khan will provide a credible Labour alternative to Jeremy Corbyn.

He has tried very hard to distance himself from Mr Corbyn, criticised the leader for failing to get a grip on the anti-Semitism row and has not been seen with Mr Livingstone.

:: That thing you didn’t know …  As a paper boy when he was young he used to deliver newspapers to Dirty Den’s mistress (EastEnders).

Look up all the results from the elections taking place across England, Scotland and Wales.

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