Home is Lon­don, Sadiq Khan tells ‘in­sen­si­tive’ BBC

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Anita Singh ARTS AND EN­TER­TAIN­MENT ED­I­TOR

THE BBC has been ac­cused of racial in­sen­si­tiv­ity af­ter one of its re­porters asked Sadiq Khan if a trip to Pak­istan felt “like com­ing home”.

The Mayor of Lon­don was born, raised and still lives in Toot­ing, south Lon­don. He was be­ing in­ter­viewed dur­ing a six-day trade mis­sion to In­dia and Pak­istan.

“Does it feel like com­ing home?” asked a re­porter from BBC Lon­don News, as he ac­com­pa­nied the mayor across the Wa­gah bor­der be­tween the two coun­tries.

Mr Khan replied: “Home’s south Lon­don, mate. But it’s good to be in Pak­istan. It’s good to come from In­dia, home of my par­ents and grand­par­ents.”

A clip of the “com­ing home” ques­tion went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia as users praised Mr Khan’s re­sponse and crit­i­cised the BBC.

Sunny Hun­dal, a Bri­tish writer, said the ques­tion was pa­tro­n­is­ing. “We may have south Asian heritage but our home is Bri­tain. Get that through your heads,” he tweeted.

The ex­change came two days af­ter the cor­po­ra­tion was forced to apol­o­gise over a BBC News at Ten re­port on the death of Shashi Kapoor, the Bol­ly­wood ac­tor. Huw Ed­wards in­tro­duced two clips, but both showed the wrong ac­tor: the first was of Amitabh Bachchan, the sec­ond of Rishi Kapoor. The pro­gramme’s ed­i­tor said the re­port was not up to the BBC’S “usual stan­dards”. Last week, Ra­dio 4’s Woman’s Hour mixed up a Viet­namese film-maker and a Ja­panese doc­tor.

How­ever, the BBC said the ques­tion to Mr Khan had been taken out of con­text. “Our re­porter asked the mayor a ques­tion in the con­text of the trip be­ing re­ferred to by se­nior politi­cians in the re­gion as a home­com­ing,” a spokesman said.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said he had not taken of­fence at the ques­tion. The politi­cian’s fam­ily, who are Mus­lim, moved from Lucknow in In­dia to Karachi in Pak­istan af­ter par­ti­tion.

In 1968, Mr Khan’s fa­ther moved to Lon­don, where he worked as a bus driver. Mr Khan met Saadiya, his wife, at school in Toot­ing and they live there with their two chil­dren.

Mr Khan’s trade mis­sion is a rare ex­am­ple of a Bri­tish politi­cian vis­it­ing both In­dia and Pak­istan on the same trip. He was ad­vised by the For­eign Of­fice to un­der­take two sep­a­rate trips. “There are ten­sions be­tween the two coun­tries, there are diplo­matic chal­lenges. The land cross­ing is sym­bolic,” he told the Evening Stan­dard.

He has been tipped as a fu­ture Labour leader. But in an in­ter­view with ITV News, he said he had no in­ter­est in the top job. “I never had am­bi­tions in the first place and I’ve got no am­bi­tions now. I love be­ing the mayor. Why give up a job I love to do a job I don’t want? I’m ab­so­lutely rul­ing my­self out. For ever,” he said.

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