The Labour Party has criticised what they have called Zac Goldsmith’s “bleak” and “racist” campaign, warning Londoners can’t afford four more years of a Tory Mayor.
Despite the fact that many of #BackZac2016’s core voters have accused the campaign of “lacking teeth”, Labour has today begun a wave of attacks by senior opposition figures on Goldsmith for using “divisive”, “bleak and desperate” techniques.
Sadiq Khan, Labour’s London mayoral candidate, has led the assault claimed that Zac and the Conservative campaigners have used methods which are “typical of the chaos that has engulfed the Tories in recent weeks.”
Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, went further, accusing Goldsmith of “increasingly resorting to disgraceful, divisive tactics” which are primarily focused on attempts “to link Sadiq to Islamist extremism based on no evidence at all.”
Cooper refers to the “smears and innuendoes” which link Sadiq to Suliman Gani, a radical imam based in Tooting.
The right-wing political blog, Guido Fawkes, in particular has drawn attention to the alleged relationship between Khan and Gani, pointing to photographs, email correspondences, and the fact that the two have spoken at the same events on at least nine occasions.
Sadiq’s team has responded to these allegations by claiming that “Zac Goldsmith’s campaign has centred on attack ads, dog-whistle tactics, and attempts to promote division based on faith and ethnicity”.
“I’ve tried to engage Zac Goldsmith in a battle of ideas,” says Sadiq, “but instead he has run a negative campaign focused on attacking me personally.”
Recently in The New Statesman, Tory activist Shazia Awan, claimed that Zac Goldsmith’s “damaging, exploitative and ugly campaign” has put her off politics.
Awan writes “the way the Zac Goldsmith mayoral campaign is being run is disgraceful,” adding, “I am disgusted and deeply upset by the intrusive, patronising and divisive tactics being used by the party in the mayoral race.”
However, some have suggested that this is merely political posturing on both sides, as the campaign reaches its final stages.
At a recent Notting Hill Q&A with Goldsmith, a member of the public actually asked Zac if he was prepared to “fight dirty” enough to beat Sadiq. To which, Zac replied that he saw it as “his civic duty” to “spend every second, of every minute” campaigning to prevent Khan becoming the next London mayor.
Moreover, many speculate that the arrival of a new special adviser, Tim Smith, has been brought in from the Department for Transport in an attempt to liven up what many perceive to have been a “lacklustre” campaign. A spokesman at Downing Street says that Smith “is joining Zac’s already impressive and growing campaign team that has the right plan for London and has had Sadiq Khan on the ropes since the New Year.”