In London, the Muslim son of a bus driver and a seamstress recently defeated a son of a billionaire to become its new mayor.
The Labour party’s Sadiq Khan took the mayoralty seat in England’s capital with 56.8% of the vote, defeating Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith, who took 43.2% of the vote, in the 2016 London mayoral election held on May 5.
Khan, who hails from a family of working-class Pakistani immigrants, will be the city’s first Muslim mayor in history. His victory marks the end of conservative Boris Johnson’s eight years of administration, reported the BBC.
Growing up in a poor family, Khan worked early in life. “I was surrounded by my mum and dad working all the time, so as soon as I could get a job, I got a job. I got a paper round, a Saturday job – some summers I laboured on a building site,” he revealed in an interview with New Statesman.
While studying to get his law degree, Khan worked weekends at Sloane Square’s Peter Jones department store.
“I’m only here today because of the opportunities and helping hand that our city gave to me and my family,” he said during his swear-in ceremony, admitting he “never dreamt” of such an achievement
“My burning ambition for our city, that will guide my mayoralty, is to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunities that my city gave to me.”
During the mayoral contest, Khan was controversially linked to Islamic extremists by his opponent’s campaign, which led to several members from both the Labour and Conservative parties to denounce the tactic.
Despite the criticisms, the new mayor said he is committed to transforming London into “the most transparent, engaged and accessible administration London has ever seen.”
He added: “I promise you I will always do everything in my power to make our city better. I will be a mayor for all Londoners.”