Sadiq Khan accused of using Churchill as distraction from knife crime ‘jazz hand politics’

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The damning indictment of the Labour London Mayor by his Conservative opponent in next year’s election Shaun Bailey comes as Mr Khan has been widely condemned for boarding up the cenotaph and statue of Churchill ahead of this weekend’s Black lives Matter protests. Mr Bailey, himself a black candidate, has warned that the London Mayor is doing such an “appalling job” that he risks the Government taking powers back to ensure the streets of London are safe.

Since Mr Khan became Mayor burglary is up by 38 percent, robbery up 73 percent and knife crime up 39 percent accounting for the worst two years of knife related deaths in the capital’s recent history.

Mr Bailey said: “The first job of the Mayor is to keep Londoners safe. Sadiq Khan has clearly failed in that regard. Record levels of knife crime, burglary and attacks on the tube. He’s failed. His response to that was blame somebody else.

“It took him two years to come up with a knife crime strategy and yet he comes up with a statue review in a night. Where are his priorities? It’s ridiculous.

“The knife crime policy is literally about saving lives. This is about jumping on the bandwagon.

“I think is a distraction when you have other things on your plate. Record levels of crime.”

Attacking Mr Khan’s focus on this weekend’s protests and statues, he said: “It’s what I call jazz hands politics. If I wave my hands over here and make a sparkly trick you don’t look at what the real problem is. 

“The real problem is you have got to look at crime. You have got to look at perpetrators, making sure fewer young people become perpetrators and look at the victims of crime.”

Mr Bailey has a strategy to reduce knife crime in the capital which includes increasing the number of police to 40,000, reopening 38 police stations closed by Mr Khan, having a safe zone in every borough for young Londoners and setting up a second chance fund to rehabilitate first time offenders before they become hardened criminals.

Ahead of this weekend’s protests Mr Bailey warned Black Lives Matter that the organisation is in danger to losing its message to extremists.

“Black Lives Matter, the organisation, needs to make the distinction between what it wants and what people try to drag them into. The anarchists are the usual suspects who turn up to any demonstration. Black Lives Matter needs to denounce them. They can keep a focus on what they want.

“I believe this is a time where people very away from the black community do have sympathy for what is going on. If the message is clear and reasonable then I think they will get a lot of support. If the message is owned by protests which turn into riots then people will just write them off.”

He called on BLM to drop political allegiance to one party or another amid fears it has been hijacked by the Left.

He also defended the police taking a careful approach to the demonstrators, arguing that the protests were a means of release for people who have been cooped up by the lockdown.

“The demonstrations may not be popular in certain quarters but if we bottled up all of that tension we would had a real explosion of crime across the summer. That’s what my worry was as we came out of lockdown.

“If you can imagine the level of crime we would have had if we had told the police to put down the demonstrations, could you imagine the violence? It would have been horrendous. 

“I think the police did a good job and policed the demonstrations really professionally which was really important. 

“I know for some people it was a tough pill to swallow but I really think the police did a blinding job. They could have made very different decisions and we could be facing a very different situation.”

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