The campaign manager for London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan hit out at radio station LBC on Friday for commissioning a poll asking whether Londoners would be comfortable with a Muslim mayor. The YouGov poll, revealed on Thursday, found that 31 percent, nearly a third, would not like to be led by a man of the Islamic faith.
On Friday, Marcus Roberts condemned the survey, saying it was “setting Londoners against each other.”
LBC wrongly reported that half of Londoners would be uncomfortable with a Muslim mayor, citing 55 percent disapproval. The actual figure was 31 percent.
In a letter to LBC, Roberts said the radio station was wrong to commission the poll. He wrote: “People are perhaps inevitably anxious about faiths they don’t know and that is why Sadiq has spent so much of his adult life reaching out across communities to increase understanding.”
He added: “I hope you can reassure me – and Londoners – that your coverage of these issues does not run the risk of undermining the strength of our city with questions that fuel prejudice and risk setting Londoners against each other.”
Khan said in a recent interview that it would be “awesome” if London elected a Muslim mayor for the message it would send to the rest of the world.
Former Labour Minister Tessa Jowell is currently favourite to be the Labour candidate, and also take the top job at the election next year.
The LBC poll also revealed that 90 percent of respondents were comfortable with a female mayor, 71 percent were comfortable with a gay mayor and 76 percent were comfortable with someone from an ethnic minority.