Zac Goldsmith hits back at 'wrong and offensive' Labour racism comments
Zac Goldsmith has hit back at accusations that he is running a racist campaign.
The Conservative mayoral hopeful said Sadiq Khan’s recent attacks about him were “wrong” and “offensive”.
Labour have claimed Mr Goldsmith's remarks about Mr Khan being a "radical" candidate are a backhanded reference to his Muslim faith.
Yesterday Labour MP Yvette Cooper wrote an article in the Times saying Zac Goldsmith’s "subtle dog-whistle is becoming a full-blown racist scream".
Mr Khan tweeted on Monday, following continuous calls from Mr Goldsmith to come clean about his background, :"@ZacGoldsmith there's no need to keep pointing at me and shouting 'he's a Muslim'. I put it on my own leaflets."
Mr Khan continued by saying personal attacks on him showed the Conservatives were “devoid of ideas” on policies for the capital.
He added: “He has run a negative campaign focused on attacking me personally. Zac Goldsmith’s bleak and desperate campaign is typical of the chaos that has engulfed the Tories in recent weeks.”
Mr Khan distanced himself from Ms Cooper's comments about racism, saying: “Just like Zac is entitled to his views, so is Yvette Cooper.”
Speaking at a mayoral hustings today, Mr Goldsmith took on his critics:
“In recent days, Sadiq Khan and his supporters have accused my campaign of being Islamaphobic. Yesterday, Sadiq tweeted me directly saying "there's no need to keep pointing and shouting at me 'he's a Muslim'," he said.
“Sadiq I have never referred to you by your religion, that hasn't happened, to suggest otherwise is just wrong and it is offensive. Faith is irrelevant to anyone's ability to do this job, but there are serious questions about you and your judgement.”
He said his questioning of Mr Khan's record was based on “facts” not “smears”.
“Some of the things you've chosen to do, these are facts not smears and it is right you are scrutinised as you're standing to be Mayor of London. Mayor of the greatest city in the world. Now you shout Islamaphobia to shut those questions down but this is nothing to do with Islam neither is anyone suggesting that you Sadiq have extreme views, this is about your judgement.”