Sadiq Khan forced to hide in café as residents shout ‘why won’t you talk to us’

The anger aimed at Sadiq Khan was in relation to the low traffic neighbourhoods where cycling is made easier but has angered some of those in some parts of London where the effect has been nil in terms of reducing pollution.

Full report posted at mylondon.news below…

Sadiq Khan’s re-election campaign launch was stalled for an hour as the mayor hid from protesters in a coffee shop.

A small group of residents protesting changes to the transport scheme interrupted the mayor as he opened his bid for a second term as mayor in North London.

After arriving at Hot Milk café in Bounds Green for his media launch, Mr Khan was held hostage by six residents who waited outside the café to speak with the Mayor about a low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) introduced by Enfield council.

On the advice of his police protection officers the mayor remained in the café for an hour, according to the Evening Standard.

But when the protesters refused to leave, he made a dash for a black Range Rover and totally ignored their questions.

Lead protester Roland Hughes, who arrived on a bike, pursued Mr Khan as he walked to the awaiting Metropolitan police vehicle.

“Sadiq, please talk to us,” he asked. “We are just a few residents.”

The residents told the Evening Standard their lives had been made a misery by displaced traffic near the North Circular Road and the already high levels of pollution were worsening.

Roland Hughes told the Standard as the Mayor departed: “It’s very disappointing. We live in a democracy and it’s not good enough.

“He’s come here for our votes, I would have thought, and there was no engagement with us at all. It was just a photo opportunity, sadly.

“We didn’t really feel that we looked like a threatening mob and we just wanted to ask some questions. It’s all about stage-managed photo opportunities, as far as we can tell, and he’s been holed up in the cafe with the door being held shut. It’s been a bit odd.”

London Labour explained that Mr Khan had already done media interviews in the garden of the cafe by this time.

A spokesperson for London Labour told MyLondon: “Sadiq makes absolutely no apologies for the bold action he’s taking to tackle toxic air pollution and make cycling in London easier and safer.

“The evidence shows an overwhelming majority of Londoners support these measures and the Tories who oppose them simply don’t share London’s values or concerns.”

Speaking at the launch event Mr Khan called for a post-war style economic recovery package for the capital.

The Labour incumbent said that “jobs, jobs, jobs” for Londoners affected by the coronavirus crisis will be a top priority if he wins a fresh mandate in the May election.

Mr Khan described the forthcoming contest – postponed from last year due to the pandemic – as a “two-horse race” between himself and Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey.

The Labour candidate has been accused of “broken promises” by his Tory rival, who claims that Mr Khan has failed to deliver on a number of pledges in his 2016 manifesto.

In his first speech of the campaign, held virtually alongside Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, Mr Khan said he believed that the capital could be an “even better city after the pandemic than it was before”.

He referred to his own experiences growing up in the capital and called for a programme of economic recovery similar to that implemented in 1945 after the Second World War.

“I grew up in a London that was still fundamentally shaped by the great reforming Labour government of 1945,” he said on Thursday afternoon.

“A government that not only rebuilt our country from the ashes of the Second World War but established a new and lasting social contract between the state and the British people.”

Mr Khan pledged to invest an extra £5 million into central London in efforts to attract Londoners and domestic tourists back to the West End, which has been badly hit by coronavirus restrictions in the capital.

He also promised to maximise City Hall expenditure to help aid job creation and retention for Londoners, as well as boosting green jobs and supporting small businesses.