Cameron links London mayor hopeful to ‘IS supporter’

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron waits to greet his Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar at Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

British Prime Minister David Cameron accused the main opposition Labour party’s candidate for London mayor of associating with an alleged supporter of the Islamic State group Wednesday, triggering a furious row.

Cameron’s comments were aimed at Sadiq Khan, a Muslim former government minister and human rights lawyer who is leading opinion polls for the May 5 mayoral election.

During Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Cameron accused Khan of appearing alongside imam Sulaiman Ghani on nine occasions.

“If we are going to condemn not just violent extremism but also the extremism that seeks to justify violence in any way, it is very important that we do not back these people and we do not appear on platforms with them,” Cameron said.

The prime minister added that he was “concerned” about Khan, accusing him of appearing “again and again and again” with Ghani, saying: “This man supports IS.”

Cameron’s comments were interrupted by an uproar from Labour MPs, some of whom shouted “racist” at him.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the comments “disgraceful” while a Labour source said it “demeans the office of prime minister” to repeat such allegations.

Khan, the son of a bus driver who moved to Britain from Pakistan, accused Cameron’s Conservatives of running a “nasty, dog-whistling campaign that is designed to divide London’s communities”.