Conservative London mayoral candidate accused of "patronising" minority groups

Zac Goldsmith warns ethnic minorities that Sadiq Khan will put their family jewellery at risk

Zac Goldsmith warns ethnic minorities that Sadiq Khan will put their family jewellery at risk

Zac Goldsmith has sent out leaflets warning ethnic minority Londoners that a vote for Sadiq Khan could put their family jewellery at risk.

The Conservative London mayoral candidate was accused of "scaremongering" and "patronising" minority groups after suggesting that only Goldsmith could protect their family heirlooms..

One letter sent by Goldsmith to British Tamils living in London, suggests a vote for the Labour candidate could lead to a new "wealth tax on family jewellery."

"As a government minister, Sadiq Khan did not use his position to speak about Sri Lanka or the concerns of the Tamil community in parliament. His party are beginning to adopt policies that will mean higher taxes on your family and your family's heirlooms and belongings," Goldsmith writes.

The letter also suggests that only Goldsmith can protect their heirlooms from burglars.

"The first job of the Mayor of London is to protect Londoners. I recognise that far too often, Tamil households are targeted for burglary due to families owning gold and valuable family heirlooms…

"As mayor I will stand up to focus the Metropolitan Police on this issue and will fight to keep you, your family and your homes secure.

The other side of the leaflet compares the Conservative candidate's record in relation to Tamils with Khan's. It claims that while Goldsmith would "protect your family's homes from burglary" Khan's party "SUPPORTS A WEALTH TAX on family jewellery."

A separate leaflet sent out to British Indians also focuses on this threat to jewellery, as well as attacking Khan for not being supportive enough of the Indian prime minister.

"Sadiq Khan supported Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party who wanted to BAN prime minister Modi from visiting the UK," it claims.

It adds that "Khan did not attend the 'UK Welcomes Modi'" event at Wembley Stadium last year.

The Daily Sikh described the leaflets as "ill-informed and arrogant" and "disastrous".

Meanwhile Labour accused Goldsmith of "patronising" ethnic minority voters in London.

Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq said:

"The Tories are running a desperate and negative campaign for Mayor of London.

"It's no surprise that they have resorted to sending out these scaremongering and totally dishonest leaflets.

“Zac Goldsmith just doesn’t understand the great diversity of our City – he is not fit to be Mayor.

“His campaign is patronising London’s communities by trying to scare them with the threat of a non-existent jewellery tax, rather than focusing on the big issues like housing, transport and policing.”

Siddiq was joined by Labour's candidate in Harrow East, Uma Kumaran, who tweeted at Goldsmith.

"Why is a reason for Tamils to vote for [you] based on jewellery?" "Patronising nonsense. Talk to Londoners [about] housing/jobs/economy."

A spokesman for Zac Goldsmith hit back, telling “Khan experimented with Corbyn and helped elect a Labour leadership who want a new tax on family heirlooms, including jewellery – if he is allowed to experiment with London from City Hall he represents a threat to the economic security of every family in our City.”

The row came as a new poll yesterday suggested that Khan remains on course to become London mayor. The YouGov poll found Khan is still seven points ahead of Goldsmith by 32% to 25% and nine points ahead once don't knows are removed.

However the poll suggests that Khan's vote could be significantly softer than Goldsmith's. YouGov found that in a hypothetical run-off between the two candidates, just 24% would "definitely" vote for Labour candidate compared to 23% for Goldsmith.

The Conservative candidate also picked up more than double the number of Ukip voters as Khan, suggesting that Goldsmith could benefit among more Eurosceptic parts of outer London.