him to “strengthen” Jeremy Corbyn.
The Standard can reveal that leaders of the controversial Momentum group told activists to support
the Labour candidate because defeat in London on May 5 would “undermine” his party’s leader.
Tories seized on the revelation by taunting: “Vote Khan, Get Corbyn.”
The revelation is a setback to the Tooting MP’s efforts to distance himself from Mr Corbyn. His office
has repeatedly insisted that “Jeremy’sname is not on the ticket” and helpers chose not to knock on
doors with Mr Corbyn while campaigning in the party leader’s Islington North seat on Easter
But Momentum founder Jon Lansman, a senior Corbyn supporter, made clear in last week’s meeting
at the launch of a group branch in Enfield that the mayoral result was significant to the Labour
leader’s future. Mr Lansman, a veteran Left-wing fixer, freely admitted that Mr Khan was not the
Left’s “first choice” for Mayor but it was a “no-brainer” to back him in order to bolster Mr Corbyn.
“We’ve got to go out and campaign for Sadiq Khan,” said Mr Lansman, who directed last year’s
triumphant Corbyn leadership campaign. “Now he might have been your first choice, he might not
have — I don’t know. That’s actually at this point not the point.
“The point is that there’s a choice in May between a Tory and Sadiq Khan. Who do you want to win?
It’s a no-brainer. We want the Labour candidate to win and we want a candidate who’s going to
ensure that Jeremy is strengthened by the London result.”
Chris Ford, the Momentum organiser in Waltham Forest who has links with Mr Corbyn’s leadership
office, told the 22-strong gathering: “If we lose in London, if we get hammered in May’s elections,
we’re assisting in undermining Jeremy Corbyn. We need to win.”
Another speaker, North London People’s Assembly chair Elaine Graham-Leigh, urged: “One thing
that will really help get Sadiq elected is actually again if we have a really enormous demonstration in
London against austerity.”
Three days after the meeting Momentum tweeted that its members were running a phone bank at
Mr Khan’s campaign headquarters located at the TSSA trade union headquarters.
The tweet read: “London: Head along to Ergon House tonight 6-8pm to phone bank for @SadiqKhan.
#Momentum WinsForLabour #JezWeKhan.”
Tory MP Paul Scully said: “It’s clear that Khan and Corbyn come together as one package. If you vote
Khan you will get a Jeremy Corbyn experiment in City Hall and in the Labour Party, with unions
calling all the shots.”
A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “Sadiq Khan is a unifying candidate who draws support from all
parts of the Labour Party and will be a Mayor for all Londoners. By contrast, Zac Goldsmith and the
Tories are running a desperate, nasty campaign that seeks to divide London’s communities.”
Some Labour MPs reacted with dismay that Momentum was using the Khan campaign, which is
about five points ahead, to bolster Mr Corbyn.
One London MP said: “These people damage Sadiq because they reduce regular Labour supporters’
motivation to go out and campaign.”
Another MP complained: “Unlike Jeremy, Sadiq is running a mainstream Labour campaign and
Momentum is trying to ride on his coat-tails.”
Mr Lansman told the Standard today: “We want Labour to win everywhere and we want Jeremy
Corbyn to win. There’s no contradiction there.”
Mr Khan is expected to join the moderniser group Progress on the stump in west London this
He was described as “hostile” to Mr Corbyn in a leaked analysis of Labour MPs’ loyalties, apparently
drawn up by one of the party leader’s close aides.
Last weekend the pair made a show of unity in Islington but separated after brief remarks, with Mr
Corbyn knocking on doors in a block of flats while Mr Khan targeted another area.
Asked about the leaked memo, Mr Corbyn said Labour was “campaigning flat-out to win in London”
and told activists: “Sadiq is our candidate.”
Mr Khan was one of 35 Labour MPs who nominated Mr Corbyn to be leader last summer, enabling
his surprise victory. It led Zac Goldsmith to dub him “Corbyn’s candidate for Mayor”