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Warm welcome as Sadiq Khan is sworn in as mayor of London

Press Association logoPress Association 07/05/2016 By Ryan Hooper and David Hughes, Press Association

The newly elected Mayor of London.

The newly elected Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan began his ceremonial duties as the new mayor of London in triumphant style, less than 12 hours after he was officially confirmed in the role.

The Labour MP was greeted warmly by actor Sir Ian McKellen as he strolled into Southwark Cathedral for his signing-in ceremony on Saturday morning, marking the end of the Conservatives' eight-year reign under Boris Johnson at City Hall.

Mr Khan, who stood on a ticket of being "a mayor for all Londoners" to become the first Muslim leader of a major Western city, was given an impromptu standing ovation and received rapturous applause as he entered the packed cathedral shortly after 11.36am.

Mr Khan received a second sustained burst of applause and loud whooping when he introduced himself with: "My name is Sadiq Khan, I'm the mayor of London."

During an address lasting barely four minutes, the human rights lawyer-turned-politician brought laughter from the floor as, in a nod to a much-referenced and parodied theme of his election campaign, he said: "Some of you don't know, but I grew up on a council estate."

He repeated his vows to be a "mayor for all Londoners" during the short, multi-faith service.

He said: "I can't believe the last 24 hours. I want to start my mayoralty as I intend to go on. I want this to be the most transparent, honest and accessible administration London has ever seen."

Mr Khan said his "burning ambition" was for people all across the capital to have the same opportunities he enjoyed.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led congratulations on Twitter using the hashtag YesWeKhan, telling the new mayor: "Can't wait to work with you to create a London that is fair for all".

But he was conspicuously absent from the formal signing-in ceremony.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband, a close ally of Mr Khan, Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe - of whom Mr Khan will be scrutineer-in-chief - and campaigner Baroness Lawrence, mother of murdered black teenager Stephen, were all present as Dean of Southwark Andrew Nunn told the congregation Mr Khan's victory brought a "carnival atmosphere" to the sacred building. 

Baroness Lawrence added: "This really is a glorious day.

"I never imagined in my lifetime I could have a mayor of London from an ethnic minority."

Mr Khan took 1,310,143 votes after second preferences were taken into account, beating Conservative Zac Goldsmith into second place on 994,614. His tally gave him the largest personal mandate of any politician in UK history.

The MP for Tooting referenced the campaign against him in his victory speech but said that London had chosen "unity over division" and "hope over fear".

In a Facebook post, defeated Mr Goldsmith also congratulated Mr Khan and thanked "the hundreds of thousands of people who trusted me with their votes".

But there were recriminations from Mr Goldsmith's side over his decision to target Mr Khan as a "radical" and highlight his supposed links with Islamist extremists.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Baroness Warsi said the "appalling dog whistle campaign" had "lost us the election, our reputation and credibility on issues of race and religion", and Mr Goldsmith's sister Jemima said the way the contest was fought "did not reflect who I know him to be".

Mr Khan delivered a barbed judgment on the Goldsmith campaign in his acceptance speech at City Hall.

Without naming his Tory rival, he said Labour had fought a "positive" campaign, adding: "Fear doesn't make us safer, it only makes us weaker, and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city."

Mr Khan's 57% support after second preferences were counted amounted to a landslide victory on the largest turnout in the history of directly-elected mayors in London.

Labour fell one seat short of an overall majority on the London Assembly which scrutinises the mayor, taking 12 seats to the Tories' eight. Greens took two seats, Liberal Democrats one and Ukip won two seats - the party's first since 2004.

Labour MP David Lammy predicted that Mr Khan's victory could pave the way for a candidate from an ethnic minority to enter Number 10.

"If we ever get a prime minister of colour, it will be because of what Sadiq Khan has achieved," he said.

Tottenham MP Mr Lammy, who stood against Mr Khan for the Labour mayoral nomination, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme Mr Khan "is a grafter, he is someone who gets on with people, he is someone who is pragmatic when he needs to be and he certainly has a vision for this city".

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