Andrew Marr suggested that Sadiq Khan’s public support for a People’s Vote on Brexit was a “distraction” from his poor record on tackling knife crime in London.
The Labour mayor of London hit the headlines today after backing a second Brexit referendum, which he suggested would rule out a hard Brexit option.
During a tense interview on BBC’s flagship political programme, Marr grilled the politician on the reason behind this sudden support for a fresh Brexit vote.
The TV host pointed out that the London mayor was losing support among Londoners following criticisms of his record on knife crime, housing and transport.
Under Mr Khan’s reign as mayor, there has been a surge in violent crime linked to drug gangs in the capital.
At least 58 people have been fatally stabbed since the beginning of the year.
Marr said: “This Brexit intervention is going to get a lot of attention. Is this just a distraction from your own record as mayor?
“You have been under a huge amount of attack on knife crime, housing, transport, and much else in London.”
Mr Khan responded: “I am happy to talk about my record as mayor over the last two years.
“We have seen a record number of affordable homes that have started in the last year.”
Marr interrupted this to press his point: “You are under huge attack though, including from London’s main newspaper the Evening Standard who have run the Khan files.
“Are you concerned that this is starting to cut home among London voters?”
The London mayor hit back, nothing that his former political rival George Osborne was now the editor of the Evening Standard.
He said: “I can reassure you that Osborne does not concern me in the slightest.
“If he wants to rewrite history, if he wants the Londoners to have selective amnesia, it’s not going to work.
“I am going to remind Londoners that the architect of the massive cuts to police in London, the massive cuts to youth services in London, David Cameron’s right hand man during the referendum was Osborne.
“If he wants to go to battle with me, good luck, I’m looking forward to it.”
Crime levels and public safety look set to be at the centre of the next campaign for London mayor, with Mr Khan running for re-election in 2020.
He has faced criticism from Tory challengers, who argue that he has “lost control of the streets”.