Zac Goldsmith vs Sadiq Khan – a comparison


So now the Tory vote for mayoral candidate has been decided, let’s take a look at both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan, and see how their background, key policies and overall PR image compare…

Zac Goldsmith Sadiq Khan
Age – 40 Age – 44
Family background: Born to the aristocratic Goldsmith family. Family background: Born to a family of Pakistani immigrants, his father worked as a bus driver while his mother was a seamstress.
Education: Privately educated, achieved four A-levels. Education: Went to state school, studied law in university.
Career before politics: Journalism Career before politics: Law
Known for: Being a keen green, passionate about environmental issues. Known for: Being keen to tackle the London housing crisis and build affordable homes.
Headlines: Wants to reduce pollution and build 50,000 new homes every year for Londoners.  He also opposed the expansion at Heathrow airport, coordinating a joint letter to David Cameron warning of risks of air pollution. Headlines:  Against the plans for Garden Bridge, Khan says it is not a cost-effective project for London. He is also championing the cause of middle income Londoners with his London Living Rent Model, which promises a fairer deal for people who are renting in the capital.
Overall: Goldsmith has worked hard to be known for his passion for the environment, rather than his gilded background.  He has created a positive image as a new generation Tory, avoiding the ‘old boys club’ clichés.

However, he needs to become known for his support of arguably more pressing issues affecting Londoners, such as the cost of living. His pledge for more houses helps towards this, but more substantial, tangible and achievable pledges over the next year will add gravitas to his reputation.

Overall: Khan has the perfect backstory and is a great example of what hard work can achieve.  In today’s European crisis, Khan represents a migrant success story. He is also making strong pledges for London, including help for middle-income families renting.  His opposition to the proposed Garden Bridge also displays austere credentials and a ‘people’s’ touch.

However Khan’s biggest issue is his profile, he is not as well-known as Goldsmith, and was in fact the surprise winner of the Labour Mayoral candidate vote, as most expected Tessa Jowell to claim victory. Khan will need to work to build his profile and make Londoner’s know he is the right man for the job.

Halima Khatun

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