’I’m really lucky to be working with Shaun’: Islington’s former Labour mayor Rakhia Ismail defects to the Tories
Islington’s former ceremonial mayor Rakhia Ismail has defected from Labour to the Tories, and is now supporting their London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey.
The Holloway ward councillor resigned from the Labour Party in September, after accusing her party’s leadership of “discrimination”, and has been in post as an independent ever since.
But today a YouTube video has emerged, in which Cllr Ismail expresses her support for London Assembly member Mr Bailey, who she describes as “quite humble” and “not airy fairy like Sadiq Khan who is all about the talk”.
In the video she claims she has been trying to work with Mr Khan “for the best part of the last five years”, adding: “I decided some time ago there’s no point in talking to Sadiq. There’s no point in working with Sadiq. I’m really lucky to be working with Shaun on a London-wide campaign on social mobility, on knife crime, giving people hope.
“At the moment the Labour party is all about hot air and no substance and that’s what I’d like to change.”
The reason she gives for the move is that Mr Khan “failed to take action against knife crime”, which she says has risen by “34 per cent” since he took office.
“It’s going to be tough for me to cross the floor, but if that takes to save a child in London then I will and that’s why I have joined the campaign of Shaun Bailey for London,” she says.
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A spokesperson from Islington Labour said: “This is incredibly disappointing news for the people of Holloway ward, who elected Cllr Ismail as a Labour candidate, with a clear mandate to help make Islington a fairer place.
“As Cllr Ismail has previously said herself, the Tory government has failed Islington on the issues that matter most, including tackling the route causes of knife crime and delivering desperately needed, genuinely affordable and council homes for local people.
“The last thing our borough needs is a Tory councillor supporting Tory austerity. ”
The Gazette has contacted Cllr Ismail and Mr Khan for comment.