Owen Smith has called on Jeremy Corbyn to condemn any of his supporters who booed Sadiq Khan.
“I think it fundamentally wrong that anybody should ever boo Sadiq Khan,” the Labour leadership candidate said today in Wales. “It’s a measure of how divided we have become that anyone in our movement can think it appropriate to boo.”
At a rally in north London on Sunday evening of thousands of people who back Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest, the mention of London’s Labour mayor was greeted with boos.
Over the weekend, Khan threw his weight behind Owen Smith’s bid to oust Corbyn as leader.
Smith said today the reaction of the crowd, captured on film by The Huffington Post, was an “anathema to he values of the Labour” and was “all that is bad about politics”.
“I absolutely condemn it,” he added. “I hope Jeremy would condemn it.”
Speaking to Sky News, he added: “I deplore the booing of Sadiq Khan. I think Sadiq is someone we are very proud of in the Labour Party. He is a winner. To boo him is completely wrong and should be condemned by all of us in the Labour movement.”
The crowd at the almost packed 4,000 capacity Ruach City Church in Kilburn, reacted after Khan’s name was mentioned by Labour National Executive Committee member Claudia Webbe.
Webbe said Khan’s victory over Zac Goldsmith in May’s mayoral election was down to Corbyn. “Despite what Sadiq Khan says. We won London under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,” she said. “Sadiq’s victory was a victory for the politics of unity and against the politics of division and disunity.”
Other Labour MPs have also reacted angrily to the booing of Khan. Labour Whip Conor McGinn attacked the “cult” surrounding Corbyn’s leadership and defended Khan.
“The fact he was booed and jeered, the mention of his name, speaks volumes about the very sad and perilous state the Labour Party is in. Sadiq has the biggest personal mandate of any politician in the history of this country,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour.
Tom Blenkinsop said “every single person who booed Sadiq Khan should be expelled” from the party, adding, “stop the rot”.
Ballots in the leadership contest are being sent out today and members can vote until September 12.