Laurence Fox heckles Sadiq Khan during campaign tour
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Mr Habib rejected the description in relation to the actor, standing on behalf of the newly formed Renew Party, saying it was yet another example of cancel culture. The controversy stems from a response by Mr Khan’s spokesman to criticisms levelled at him by Mr Fox’s party, which commissioned an analysis of London’s finances which concluded Mr Khan had “sent the level of Greater London Authority debt soaring from £3.7billion to £5.2billion”.
Mr Fox commented: “These accounts would shame a banana republic.
“It is quite extraordinary and shocking that the same amount of money raised in London in council tax this year for City Hall will be frittered away on paying the interest on Sadiq Khan’s overdraft.
“He has plunged the capital deep into the red with no apparent means of escape.
“His mismanagement long predates the pandemic so he cannot use that as an excuse.”
Referring to New York’s financial problems in the 1970s which saw the US city come close to bankruptcy, Mr Fox added: “It would be appalling if London went the same way.
“It is the shining star of the UK economy and its eclipse would have a dreadful knock-on effect across the whole country.”
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However, instead of responding to the remarks, Mr Khan’s spokesman said Mr Khan “will not engage” with candidates he considers on “the extreme far-right.”
Mr Habib, himself a frequent critic of Mr Khan, was not impressed.
He told Express.co.uk: “It is typical Sadiq Khan, and indeed the cancel culture to which he subscribes, that he describes Laurence Fox as extreme far right.
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“He does so not because Laurence is extreme far-right but because it enables him to rubbish any criticism Fox might make without having to address the subject itself. He wishes to cancel Laurence Fox.
“It is this divisive approach from Khan and people like him that has poisoned politics.”
Mr Habib said: “Sadiq Khan is a purveyor of division and disharmony.
“He has bankrupted TfL, allowed violent crime to sky rocket, raised taxes and punished the working classes but still finds time to denigrate our history, our culture and our heritage.
“If he had the courage of his convictions he would debate Laurence. He won’t. He is a coward.”
Speaking specifically about Mr Fox, Mr Habib added: “Laurence is certainly not right-wing.
“He supports the working and middle classes.
“He wants to support and promote their interests. So long overlooked by Khan.”
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Harrow-educated, RADA-trained Mr Fox is a veteran British actor whose credits include Detective Sergeant James Hathaway in Lewis and Prince Charles, in Whatever Love Means.
He has courted controversy over the years as a result of his criticism of “woke” culture and political correctness, including his claim that the depiction of a Sikh soldier in the film 1917 was “forced diversity”.
He is also a critic of the Government’s coronavirus strategy and was last month spoken to by police for taking part in anti-lockdown protests.
A spokesperson for London Labour told Express.co.uk: “Sadiq will not engage with politicians on the extreme far right”.
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