Labour's Mayor of London hopeful failed to directly address the party's ongoing anti-Semitism scandal, as he made his final speech to the capital's electorate on 3 April. Sadiq Khan told IBTimes UK he wanted to keep his final pitch to Londoners "positive" and stressed that he had already condemned former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone for claiming Adolf Hitler was a Zionist.
"I've tried to have a positive campaign, talking about my ideas for the city, and with the greatest of respect this is my closing submission, if I were a lawyer, to London about the clear choice facing London on Thursday [5 May]. I couldn't have been swifter last Thursday when I saw the comments of Ken Livingstone," the Tooting MP said.
"Londoners were appalled and disgusted by, not just the comments from Livingstone last week, but by the impression given, fairly or unfairly, that the Labour Party isn't a place for people of a Jewish faith. That cannot be right – this is 2016 and [London is] the most progressive city in the world."
Khan, while speaking to journalists, also suggested that Labour's ruling body needed training on tackling anti-Semitism. "Racism is racism, you cannot have a hierarchy when it comes to racism – we should have a zero-tolerance of racism," Khan said.
"What I've said, for example, as far as the Labour leadership is concerned, including the National Executive Council (NEC), is that they need to understand what anti-Semitism is. I say this not in a patronising way, but maybe they could do with some training about the importance of dealing with those issues."
The comments come after Khan attacked Zac Goldsmith for running a "divisive" campaign, which has seen the Conservative candidate and his supporters brand the Muslim MP "radical". The Tory candidate defended the language, when quizzed on the issue by IBTimes UK, arguing the words had been used in a political context.
Livingstone, who sits on Labour's NEC, has since been suspended by Labour for "bringing the party into disrepute" and Bradford West MP Naz Shah has also had the Labour whip withdrawn as she faces an investigation after backing a call to "transport" Israelis to the United States.
Jeremy Corbyn has announced an independent investigation into anti-Semitism within Labour, while the party plans to establish new rules around the issue. The probe will be led by Shami Chakrabarti, the former director of human rights advocacy group Liberty. The party has suspended another three councillors over remarks relating to Israel following news of Labour's planned investigation.
Meanwhile, Khan is tipped to win the Mayor of London election on 5 May, making him the first Muslim to hold the role. The latest opinion poll from Survation, of more than 1,000 people in London between 21 and 25 April, put the Labour hopeful 20 points ahead of Goldsmith in the second round of voting (60% versus 40%).