In his victory speech, Sadiq Khan described himself as “a Londoner through and through”.(FILE)London: London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who won re-election Saturday, has risen from humble roots to spar with prime ministers and presidents since taking charge of the British capital five years ago.The 50-year-old politician from the main opposition Labour party, a former human rights lawyer brought up on a London public housing complex, won a second stint at City Hall with victory over Conservative rival Shaun Bailey.This continues a remarkable journey for the Pakistani immigrant bus driver’s son, who became the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital when initially elected in 2016.He has made a name for himself as a vocal critic of Brexit and successive Conservative prime ministers, including his mayoral predecessor Boris Johnson, as well as for a feud with former US president Donald Trump.The pair became embroiled in an extraordinary war of words, after Khan criticised Trump’s controversial travel ban on people from certain Muslim countries.In a series of bizarre attacks, Trump accused Khan of doing a “very bad job on terrorism” and called him a “stone cold loser” and a “national disgrace”.The mayor in turn allowed an infamous blimp of Trump dressed as a baby in a nappy to fly above protests in Parliament Square during his 2018 visit to Britain.”He once called me a stone cold loser. Only one of us is a loser, and it’s not me,” a typically combative Khan told AFP as he campaigned ahead of Thursday’s poll.Street fighterBorn in London in 1970 to parents who had recently arrived from Pakistan, Khan was the fifth child out of seven brothers and one sister.He grew up in public housing in Tooting, an ethnically mixed residential area in south London, and slept in a bunkbed until he was 24.His modest background plays well in a city that is proud of its diversity and loves a self-made success story.In his victory speech on Saturday, Khan described himself as “a Londoner through and through”.”I grew up on a council estate, a working class boy, a child of immigrants, but I’m now the Mayor of London,” he said.Khan still regularly recalls how his father drove one of London’s famous red buses, and his mother was a seamstress. One of his brothers is a motor mechanic.He is a handy boxer, having learnt the sport to defend himself in the streets against those who hurled racist abuse at him, and two of his brothers are boxing coaches. He also ran the London Marathon in 2014.At school, he wanted to study science and become a dentist. But a teacher spotted his gift for verbal sparring and directed him towards law.He gained a law degree from the University of North London and started out as a trainee lawyer in 1994 at the Christian Fisher legal firm, where he was eventually made a partner.He specialised in human rights, and spent three years chairing the civil liberties campaign group Liberty.He represented Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam movement, and Babar Ahmad, a mosque acquaintance who was jailed in the United States after admitting providing support to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.Muslim PM?Khan joined Labour aged 15 when Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher was in her pomp.He became a local councillor for Tooting in the Conservative-dominated Wandsworth local borough in 1994, and its member of parliament in 2005.He still lives in the area with his lawyer wife Saadiya and their two teenage daughters.Then prime minister Gordon Brown made him the communities minister in 2008 and he later served as transport minister, becoming the first Muslim minister to attend Cabinet meetings.In parliament, he voted for gay marriage — which earned him death threats.As mayor, he vowed to focus on providing affordable homes for Londoners and freezing transport fares, but — like many in power around the world — saw his agenda engulfed by the pandemic.Khan has said his priority for a second term will be “jobs, jobs, jobs” as he bids to keep London on its perch as a top world city while tackling the crisis and the fallout from Brexit, which could threaten the capital’s vital financial sector.He is London’s third mayor after Labour’s Ken Livingstone (2000-2008) and Johnson (2008-2016), with widespread speculation he could try to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps to Downing Street.Khan predicts Britain will have a Muslim prime minister “in the not-too-distant future” but insists it will not be him.”As long as Londoners continue to trust me to be their mayor, I’m currently in this job,” he told AFP.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
The ruling means Meghan has won every part of her legal claim against newspaper group.London, United Kingdom: A British court on Wednesday upheld Meghan Markle’s copyright claim against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over its publication of a letter to her father.The ruling by judge Mark Warby means the Duchess of Sussex, as Markle is formally known, has now won every part of her legal claim against the newspaper group, which published a handwritten letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle.Warby said on Wednesday at a remote hearing lawyers acting for Queen Elizabeth II had assured him the copyright did not belong to the Crown so he was granting “summary judgement” over that remaining aspect of the case, too.In February the High Court issued Meghan with a “summary judgement”, meaning she won her privacy and data protection rights claims against Associated Newspapers over the letter’s publication without having to go to trial.Warby also ordered the Mail on Sunday to print a front-page statement acknowledging her legal victory.But the judge said at the time her copyright claim needed further scrutiny because the newspaper group suggested Meghan did not fully own the letter’s copyright and members of the royal communications team helped her draft it.Meghan’s solicitor, Ian Mill QC, said on Wednesday lawyers for the Keeper of the Privy Purse — the official responsible for the monarch’s private funds — had written “disclaiming any claim to copyright on behalf of the crown”.Mill said he also received a letter from lawyers for Jason Knauf, previously communications secretary to the Sussexes, saying he did not write or help draft the letter.The newspaper group’s lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, said it was “a matter of regret” that Knauf had not clarified this earlier.Meghan’s letter to her estranged father was written a few months after she married Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, Prince Harry, and asked him to stop talking to tabloids and making false claims about her in interviews.Meghan and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, have successfully mounted further legal action over media breaches of their privacy since moving to the United States last year.At the same time the couple have engaged with media on their own terms, giving an explosive interview in March to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey, in which they said unnamed royals had made racist remarks about how dark their son’s skin would be.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Madrid premier Isabel Diaz Ayuso, a fierce critic of Covid-19 lockdowns, secured a major victory in Spain’s regional elections, prompting the head of the left-wing Podemos to end his political career after taking fifth place.
With more than 99% of the ballots counted late on Tuesday night, Ayuso’s People’s Party took 45% of the vote, or 65 seats in the regional legislature, just four shy of an outright majority. Doubling its share of the vote compared to the last race in 2019, the People’s Party is expected to enter into a coalition with the right-wing Vox Party, which itself took fourth place with 9% of the vote.“Freedom has won in Madrid, once again,” Ayuso told supporters after her win, echoing a campaign slogan, while People’s Party leader Pablo Casado said voters “trusted [Ayuso’s] handling of the pandemic.”The premier’s campaign was fueled in no small part by her opposition to lockdowns, appealing to voters weary of draconian restrictions while refusing to shutter bars and restaurants during the health crisis. Tuesday’s race dealt a blow to leftist factions, seeing the Socialist Workers’ Party slip 10 points and 11 seats compared to 2019, tying with the progressive Mas Madrid. In fifth place behind Vox came Podemos, a left-of-center party founded in 2014 in opposition to European austerity policies. Though it gained three additional seats, the relatively poor showing led Podemos founder Pablo Iglesias to declare his exit from politics, saying “We have failed; we were very far from putting together a sufficient majority.”
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“I am not a political figure who can contribute to our political force or help consolidate its institutional strength,” Iglesias added.Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez – a leading member of the Socialist Workers’ Party whose Covid-19 policies were frequently slammed by Ayuso – took to Twitter late on Tuesday night to acknowledge her win. “The polls have given Ayuso a great result and, above all, a great responsibility. Congratulations,” he said. “The [Socialist Workers] will always be ready to work for a better Madrid and turn its votes into a force for the future for the region and its people.”The election campaign in Madrid, Spain’s capital and a city of 7 million, has been fraught with heated rhetoric and at times threats of violence, with several candidates, including Ayuso and Iglesias, receiving death threats from opponents. In early April, a regional office for Podemos was hit with a firebomb, prompting Iglesias to blame the “far right,” calling the attack “street terrorism.” A party spokesman claimed it was the sixth time a Podemos office was targeted by vandals.
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Tony Blair – PATony Blair has cast doubt on whether Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP winning a majority in next week’s Holyrood election gives her a mandate for a second independence referendum.The former prime minister said he “would frankly doubt” whether Scots wanted to go through another referendum campaign and argued they did not want the “disruption” it would cause.But he said it may become “difficult” for Boris Johnson to resist giving Ms Sturgeon the powers for another vote if “opinion looks as though it is fixed” in favour of separation.The former Labour leader claimed the Union would “already be in tatters” if his government had not created devolution in 1999, despite the SNP using the reins of power in Scotland to drive up support for separation.He predicted that Scots would “ultimately” vote again to stay in the UK if there was a second referendum but admitted that there were “weaknesses” in the way his government implemented devolution that have helped the nationalists.In particular, Mr Blair told ITV News it was a mistake “not to build real cultural ties and emphasise the enormous things that the different countries in the United Kingdom have in common”.SNP set for landslide victoryHis intervention came as opinion polls indicate the SNP is on course for a landslide victory on May 6 and a fourth term in power, with Ms Sturgeon on the cusp of winning an overall majority.She plans to use her victory to ramp up pressure on Mr Johnson to drop his opposition to a second referendum, which she wants to stage by the end of 2023, when Scotland is still recovering from the Covid pandemic.However, the polls have also indicated a drop in support for separation below 50 per cent and the majority of Scots do not want another referendum within the next two years.A survey last week found 44 per cent of Scots said they would support the Prime Minister if he rejected Ms Sturgeon’s demand for a separation vote, compared to 33 per cent who would oppose this refusal.Story continuesAsked whether an SNP majority next week would be a mandate for a second referendum, Mr Blair said: “I’m not sure that even if the SNP win a majority in the Scottish Parliament that it necessarily means that people want to go through the disruption of an independence campaign – I would frankly doubt that.”Devolution ‘didn’t end argument’Devolution was a key commitment in the Labour manifesto in the 1997 general election that saw Mr Blair swept to power, although he admitted in his memoirs he was never a “passionate believer” in it and thought creating Holyrood was a dangerous path.He told ITV News: “Where I think we were wrong was in believing that devolution would end the argument of independence – it hasn’t ended it, but it is still a very substantial part of the bulwark against it.”My best bet is that Scotland will vote ultimately to remain inside the UK… I agree it has proved to be a tougher fight than we anticipated, although in 2014 when we had the referendum – and the majority was for Scotland to stay – that ended the issue…until Brexit put it back on the agenda.”Asked whether he thought flying the Union flag on UK government buildings was a gimmick, he said: “I don’t think that’s the thing that’s going to make the difference, it’s emphasising what we do have in common.”