UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called London Mayor Sadiq Khan “a proud Muslim” and “a proud Brit,” taking an apparent U-turn after accusing the mayor of having links with extremists.
During the mayoral race, Cameron said Khan had a “poor judgment” and was linked with terror “sympathizers.” Khan responded by accusing the premier of using a racial card.
Cameron’s change of tone came only a day after Khan announced his intention to share a platform with the prime minister in opposing the so-called Brexit option in the run-up to the crucial June 23 referendum that will decide the country’s future in the European Union (EU).
The pair appeared to have buried the hatchet as they took the stage at a Remain campaign event in London on Monday– called “Britain Stronger in Europe.”
Cameron congratulated Khan on his mayoral victory, telling the crowd, “I’m proud to be here with the mayor of London – with the Labour mayor of London – on this vital, vital issue.”
“He [Khan] makes an important point about our country. In one generation someone who’s a proud Muslim, a proud Brit and a proud Londoner can become mayor of the greatest city on Earth. That says something about our country.”
After Khan won a landslide victory against Zac Goldsmith, his Tory rival and an strong Cameron ally, senior Tories attacked the Conservative campaign against Khan, warning that it could damage community relations with Muslims.
Khan, however, decided to hold no grudges, saying Sunday that teaming up with Cameron serves London’s interests.
“There are many things upon which the prime minister and I will disagree. But what’s really important is when it’s in London’s interests for the mayor of London and the government to work closely together, we will work closely together,” he told the activists attending the Monday event.
Cameron and Khan then introduced the “Britain Stronger in Europe” pledge card that will be distributed around the country to raise awareness about five things that the government says will be guaranteed in if Britain chooses to remain in the EU.
The promises were: a special status for the UK in Europe, full access to the EU’s single market, protecting the rights of workers, keeping the European arrest warrant, and economic stability.
The economy and the impact of a possible Brexit on jobs, wages and trade are a key battleground for both the “Remain” and “Leave” campaigns.