Bernie Sanders will fail in his quest to oust Donald Trump as US president, Sadiq Khan has predicted.
The Mayor of London does not believe the left-winger – or indeed any of the other Democrats currently hoping to enter the 2020 race for the top job – can beat the incumbent.
“I think the next president hasn’t declared yet,” Khan said, in an interview with HuffPost’s editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen. “And I think, it’s not going to be Trump. It can’t be Trump.”
The Labour mayor’s comments could suggest support for Barack Obama’s former vice-president Joe Biden, who is yet to launch a bid for the White House but is strongly tipped to run.
They may also dismay many in his own party who have drawn comparisons between the 77-year-old Vermont senator and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Massachusetts senator and academic Elizabeth Warren, who will run on a ‘left-wing populist’ ticket, and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who narrowly lost out to Ted Cruz in the Senate mid-term elections, are among the 13 Democrats to have already thrown their hat in the ring for 2020.
Other serious contenders include Kamala Harris, a former attorney general and US senator, the ex-Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker and New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a high-profile Me Too campaigner and corporate lawyer.
A further three potential Democrat candidates have launched exploratory committees.
Whoever succeeds will almost certainly face Trump as no serious Republican appears ready to enter the fray while the president’s right-wing base holds steady.
Khan, who has himself clashed with the president on Twitter, said the Americans who believe Trump is “doing an okay job” and his 2020 opponent must listen to voters to forge an “emotional connection” with them.
He said: “What one of the challenges – and I’ve said this, I’ve got some friends in the Democratic party in America – is you’ve got to recognise the reasons why people supported him and why people still support him.
“One of the mistakes we make as politicians is we only spend time with like-minded people. We are like an echo chamber.”
He went on to appeal to Americans who oppose Trump to get involved in the election.
“And I’m saying this to you and to all Americans here: what happens in American matters for the rest of the world,” he said. “It really does.”
Turning to British politics, Khan repeated his call for MPs to get behind a second EU referendum.
The London mayor, whose city voted 59.9% to remain, said: “And now we know the terms of which we will leave the EU, now we know this is the land of milk and honey, now we know the consequences for the NHS, for creative industries, for the wealth and prosperity of our children and grandchildren.
“We can then choose, do we accept the deal negotiated by Prime Minister May, or do I remain in the imperfect EU? I think that should happen.”
Khan, who will run again to be Mayor of London in 2020, was also quizzed about his own record and the knife crime epidemic gripping the capital.
He denied London uniquely had a problem, saying: “Our city is bigger than Scotland and Wales put together. So, unsurprisingly, the largest numbers of violent crime are in London. But actually, when you compare our population with certain parts of the country, we are nowhere near the top.”
The Labour mayor also laid the blame with central government austerity policies, pointing out that the country had lost 22,000 police officers since 2010.
He said: “I am clear that with the resources that we have, we’re not going to solve this. We aren’t. What people don’t realise is 80% of police services come from central government, youth services funding comes from central government, other preventative services come from central government.”