On Wednesday 20th March, at PMQs, David Cameron went nuclear against Labour’s Sadiq Khan by accusing him of sharing a platform with and giving cover to the “extremist” imam Suliman Gani.
It was the second time the Tories had created a story of ‘extremism’ around Khan out of thin air – this time by calling Gani an “IS [Islamic State] supporter”. A week later this claim has also collapsed.
A few week ago, the Evening Standard and Zac Goldsmith were claiming Khan had questions to answer about Makbool Javaid, the ex-husband of his sister who shared a platform at a rally over 10 years ago.
Then, Political Scrapbook revealed that Javaid’s name had been cleared by The Times in 1998, and Private Eye pointed out that now worked for lawyers that had clients including the Sun Newspaper. Suddenly, those questions vanished.
Now the attention has shifted to Suliman Gani, and this accusation is just as ludicrous as the last one.
First, it was revealed that Zac Goldsmith had himself posed for a picture with Suliman Gani.
Then it turned out that several Conservative MPs had also shared a platform with the imam on various campaigns. The Tory party has studiously avoided any mention of them.
And from there the smears collapsed even further.
Gani revealed he had switched support from Labour to the Tories because of Sadiq Khan’s support for legalising same-sex marriage. In switching support, Gani had been courted by the local Tory candidate Dan Watkins.
In fact, Watkins even invited Gani to an event in Tooting last year to boost Muslim representation.
— Dan Watkins (@DanWatkins) November 18, 2015
The Tories even wrote about it here. It took place just six months ago.
Mr Gani is pictured in the final image, on the second row.
It now turns out the imam wasn’t just invited to the event – he was even encouraged by the Tories to spread the word.
LBC is now in possession of evidence which contradicts Mr Goldsmith’s claim that Mr Gani was not invited to the meeting.
LBC has obtained text messages and emails to Mr Gani from Dan Watkins where he specifically invites him to the meeting.
The very man the Tories accuse of supporting IS (which Gani vehemently denies) wasn’t just a supporter of the Tories, they in turn welcomed and invited him.
But they linked him to Khan anyway, in order to win the race for London Mayor.
Is there any depths to which Zac Goldsmith won’t sink to?