Michael Fallon launches attack on Sadiq Khan over extremism
Mr Fallon said Mr Khan was “unfit” to be mayor of London because he had reportedly shared platforms with known extremists.
The incident happened after Mr Khan was questioned on LBC about following two men on Twitter who had extremist links.
One of the men posted links to Daesh propaganda videos and the other man's brother was convicted of supporting insurgents in the Middle East.
Mr Khan was also asked about his appearance on an event run by the Islam Channel.
The mayoral hopeful responded to the allegations, saying: “I think it is a bit desperate to attack somebody who follows me on Twitter, or to attack me because I follow somebody, or to attack me because of my ex-brother in law who I’ve not seen for 12 years, or to attack me for sharing a platform when government ministers shared the same platform with the same people.
“For goodness sake, let’s have a campaign that is positive.”
The Defence Secretary then lambasted Mr Khan saying he is a “man who has said Britain’s foreign policy is to blame for the terrorist threat”.
He added: “My priority as Defence Secretary is to give our armed forces what they need to protect our people and our territory, here at home and overseas, now and into the future.
“With the Home Office and the police, we have plans in place to deploy up to 10,000 troops in the event of Paris-style terrorist attacks. The Mayor has an important role to play in protecting London, supporting the police, and reassuring the public.
"That is why we need a candidate who can unite our city, not a Labour lackey who speaks alongside extremists, proving himself unfit to perform that role. A man who has said Britain’s foreign policy is to blame for the terrorist threat.”
Mr Fallon continued, and said in support of Tory mayoral hopeful Zac Goldsmith: “London has witnessed appalling terrorism in the past.
“It needs a mayor who will back our police, security services and armed forces all the way. Labour cannot be trusted with our country’s security and they cannot be trusted with London’s either.”
Mr Fallon caused controversy during the general election campaign by claiming that Ed Miliband would be prepared to "stab the United Kingdom in the back" over Trident.
Mr Khan’s spokesman hit back at the minister: “The Tory campaign is in real desperation and it was only a matter of time before they went down this route — so it’s no surprise it’s Michael Fallon who will literally say anything during an election.
“Sadiq has consistently spoken out against extremism and terrorism," the spokesman continued. "He’s suffered death threats and constant abuse from Muslim extremists throughout his life because of his mainstream views.
"He’s the only candidate in this election who has a real plan to put a stop to radicalisation.
"Attacks like this on mainstream Muslims like Sadiq only make it harder for us to fight extremists, put an end to radicalisation and beat the terrorists — it demeans the office of Defence Secretary.”