Sadiq Khan to address Labour conference, Corbyn confirms

Mayor of London Sadiq KhanImage copyright
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The mayor of London is one of Labour’s most powerful elected figures

London mayor Sadiq Khan is to address the Labour Party conference after initially being told he would not get a slot.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told BBC London: “Sadiq is speaking. I’m delighted to say he is and I’m looking forward to listening to him.”

He denied being “bounced” into giving Mr Khan a slot by Labour’s conference arrangements committee.

“There was a discussion and suggestions were made, agreements were reached.”

Labour’s party conference begins in Brighton on Sunday, with thousands of delegates expected to attend.

Mr Khan, who has been critical of Mr Corbyn in the past and backed Owen Smith’s leadership challenge last year, had not been expected to address the annual gathering.

Asked about whether he would be giving a speech on LBC radio two weeks ago, Mr Khan replied: “It doesn’t look like it.”

But Mr Corbyn told BBC London’s political editor Tim Donovan the London mayor would address the conference, in an interview on Friday.

He said he had tried to reduce the number of “platform speakers” – leading politicians giving set-piece speeches in the main hall – because he wanted to increase the amount of time available for ordinary party members.

“I have done that to a large extent, there’s going to be much shorter speeches from the platform but Sadiq will be speaking.”

It has been reported that Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee agreed to Mr Corbyn’s plan to reduce the traditional platform speeches on Tuesday but the party’s Conference Arrangements Committee subsequently ruled Mr Khan should be given a slot.

But Mr Corbyn said there was a “democratic process” involved in deciding who got to speak.

“It’s not up to me,” he said.

“There was a discussion and suggestions were made, agreements were reached. Sadiq is speaking.”

He praised Mr Khan’s record of “incredible work” in dealing with the crises that have affected London this year and dismissed reports of a snub as “obsessive speculation”.

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