John McDonnell says Sadiq Khan 'discredited' Labour by sharing platform with David Cameron

Posted On: 
31st May 2016

John McDonnell has accused Sadiq Khan of "discrediting" the Labour party by sharing a platform with David Cameron in the EU referendum.

Sadiq Khan and David Cameron share a joke yesterday
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor also said the controversial move "demotivates the very people we are trying to mobilise".

His comments, at an event in Wolverhampton last night, expose the splits at the top of the Labour party on how best to campaign for a Remain vote on 23 June.

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London mayor Mr Khan campaigned alongside the Prime Minister in the capital yesterday to unveil the pro-EU campaign's pledge card featuring promises on protection of workers' rights and economic stability.

Their joint appearance raised eyebrows since it came just weeks after Mr Cameron accused of Mr Khan of having links to Islamic extremists during the mayoral campaign.

It also put the mayor at odds with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has said he will not share a platform with the Tory leader.

At the Labour In For Britain event last night, Mr McDonnell was asked by an audience member whether, like Mr Khan, the party should put aside its differences with Mr Cameron to campaign for a Remain vote.

He replied: "The Europe that the Tories want is not our Europe. Cameron went to negotiate away workers' rights in advance of this referendum. If he could have done it, he would have done.

"If Cameron and his crew are still in power after this referendum they will continue dismantling our welfare state. They will continue to cut benefits, undermine wages and cut public service jobs. This will go on.

"Sharing a platform with them discredits us. It demotivates the very people we are trying to mobilise."


But speaking at the weekend, Mr Khan defended his decision to campaign with Mr Cameron.

He said: "Is it in London’s interests for me to hold grudges? Is it in London’s interests for the Mayor of London to be at permanent war with the Conservative Prime Minister? There are many areas on which the Prime Minister and I disagree, we’re never going to be best friends, but what’s important is for the Mayor of London argues the case for London and for Londoners to remain in the European Union.

"I’m willing to put aside our differences, put aside the grudges that he or I may have because this argument, this debate, is far more important than David Cameron or me. It’s about our city’s future, our country’s future, it’s about the patriotic, positive case for us to remain in the EU.”

A source close to Mr Khan said: "Sadiq made it crystal clear throughout the mayoral election campaign that he would share a platform with David Cameron and other Tories on the subject of the EU referendum because it is such a crucial decision for Londoners and for the rest of the country.

"It shouldn't come as any surprise to anybody that he has appeared alongside the Prime Minister."