Bill de Blasio, New York’s first Democratic mayor since 1993, was the star turn on the final day of the Labour conference, delivering a well-received speech on the global fight against inequality.
Before addressing the conference, I can reveal that de Blasio met for 45 minutes with shadow London minister and shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan. A source told me that the pair discussed plans to tackle rising inequality in London and New York and how to make politics more relevant to people’s lives. De Blasio invited Khan, who is often spoken of as a potential future London mayor, to visit him and see the progress his administration has made.
Khan has long described inequality as the biggest challenge facing London, making it one of the central issues of Labour’s election campaign in the capital last May (where it enjoyed its best results since 1998). In a speech at the GMB conference in June, he said: “Growing inequality is a global problem seen across the world. And the forces of conservatism will fight tooth and nail to protect their vested interests. We will need everyone who believes that inequality is a problem working alongside us.”
But while Khan has publicly expressed interest in becoming de Blasio’s equivalent in London (“If the ball came loose at the edge of the box and I thought I had the best chance of scoring a goal I’d probably shoot,” he has said), he is not planning to follow David Lammy in declaring his candidacy before the general election. A source recently told me: “Sadiq is working his socks off to get Ed Miliband elected Prime Minister. He will continue to focus all his effort on winning 12 extra seats in London as shadow London minister and articulating Labour’s radical alternative to the government’s prison crisis as shadow justice secretary.”