George Galloway attacks Sadiq Khan over 'insulting' bus drivers comments

Left-wing firebrand George Galloway tore into Sadiq Khan today claiming his Labour rival had suggested he was too clever to be a bus driver. The Labour candidate for Mayor said at the weekend he did not mean to be “discourteous” to bus drivers but that his parents had wanted him to do better. Mr Khan, who studied law at university, often refers to the fact his own father was a bus driver as a way of highlighting his humble roots.

Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Labour also views it as a useful way of illustrating the gulf between their candidate and Tory rival Zac Goldsmith, whose father was a billionaire financier. Mr Khan told the Sunday Times: “My dad was never embarrassed of being a bus driver, but it was clear, in a non-arrogant way, that he was better educated. “My parents wanted, again not in an arrogant way, but they wanted their children to do better than them. I don’t mean this as a discourtesy to bus drivers. I’ve got friends who are bus drivers. “He didn’t want his children to be bus drivers, not as a slight against bus drivers but because he wanted us to go to university and get an office job.”

“The President of Venezuela was a bus driver. This man thinks he’s too clever...”

But Mr Galloway, who is standing for Respect in the race for City Hall, tweeted: “The President of Venezuela was a bus driver. This man thinks he’s too clever...”. He said: “Residents in Brent are as concerned about issues impacting London as in every borough. Whether it is housing, the economy, jobs, taxation or the environment, I will listen to each and every one of you.

“This man just insulted 27,000 bus drivers and their partners and their children and their parents (including his own)”. The former Respect MP, who is attempting to outflank Mr Khan from the left, added: “If these are the kind of things he SAYS... imagine the kind of things he thinks”. But a friend of Mr Khan told the Standard: “Nobody in their right mind would think Sadiq was saying that. He’s very proud of his dad and everything he did.”

Mr Galloway described the Sunday Times interview as the Labour candidate’s “Mandelson moment”, referring to Labour grandee Lord Mandelson who said he was “intensely relaxed” about people becoming “filthy rich”, although he rowed back on his remarks more than a decade later. Mr Galloway added: “Are those mushy peas or is it guacamole?” Social media weighed into the row with Londoner Punam Tiwari tweeting: “Some of my family members were bus drivers and they put me in higher education. This is an offensive comment” while R P McMurphy said: “Breaking News. Sadiq Khan throws HIMSELF under bus!”

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