Labour mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, has criticised Zac Goldsmith’s ‘bleak’ 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”, in the lead up to the 5th May elections, Labour have launched a wave of attacks by senior party figures criticising Goldsmith’s use of “divisive”, “bleak and desperate” techniques.
Sadiq Khan, who 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 well-known right-wing political blog, Guido Fawkes, in particular has drawn attention to the alleged relationship between Khan and Gani, pointing to photographs, email correspondence, 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.
To that end, Number 10 have despatched a special adviser from the Department for Transport to boost the Goldsmith team.
Tim Smith began working for transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin shortly after the 2015 general election, having previously been a press adviser at Tory HQ. He is now moving over to help head up Goldsmith’s media operation as The Sun reports that insiders have expressed concerns that the “lacklustre” campaign lacks “direction” and “bite””.
Mark Fullbrook, former head of campaigns at the Conservative Party and deputy director of Boris Johnson’s 2012 re-election team, took over as Goldsmith’s campaign director in the New Year. The media director for the Goldsmith mayoral campaign is Katy Eustice, the wife of Conservative MP George Eustice.
A No 10 spokesman confirmed that Smith was moving over, stating: “Tim 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.”