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More female environment has changed me for better: Sadiq Khan

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London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, 53, known for his political achievements and as a figure of historical significance being the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital, reveals a more personal side, in a special Valentine’s Day episode of the new dating podcast called London Love Stories with Katie Strick, by The Standard.

Amid discussions of his aspirations for a third term in office, Khan shares his evolving perspective on affection, heavily influenced by the female presence in his life.

“I went from having six brothers and a sister, to having two children who are women… I think that more female environment has changed my behaviour for the better,” Khan said, emphasising his newfound appreciation for expressing love through hugs, a gesture he extends towards friends and colleagues alike.

This dialogue is not typical for Khan, whose daily conversations usually revolve around London’s pressing issues like transport, housing, and climate change.

Yet, on this special occasion, he indulges in discussing the significance of love in its various forms, from his cherished date nights with Saadiya, his wife and partner of thirty years, to the routine football and tennis games with friends, highlighting the importance of platonic love for mental health.

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Khan’s narrative is deeply rooted in Tooting, where he grew up and now resides with Saadiya and their dog, Luna. The couple’s love story, beginning in their teenage years, showcases their enduring connection, from simple pleasures like watching pelicans in St James’ Park to Khan’s surprise John Legend concert date for Saadiya.

Khan’s portrayal of his family life, including daily visits to his mother and the close-knit community of siblings and relatives in Tooting, paints a picture of a man deeply connected to his roots and community.

Despite his high-profile role, Khan cherishes the normalcy and intimacy of local life in Tooting, emphasising the joy of spontaneous encounters with familiar faces.

His commitment to London extends beyond his doorstep, with a special fondness for the city’s parks, squares, and the Southbank, underscoring his passion for the city’s diverse and vibrant community.

Khan’s conversation then shifts to broader themes of love and care beyond the romantic, highlighting his admiration for the selfless dedication of healthcare workers and teachers, and the community spirit witnessed in events like the London Marathon.

He reflects on the transformative power of parenthood on his priorities and values, and the lessons of love and expression he has learned from his children and applied even in his relationship with his mother.

Concluding on a note of inclusivity and connection, Khan celebrates London’s capacity for fostering unexpected relationships and breaking down barriers, whether on a bus, the Tube, or in everyday encounters.

His story, woven through personal anecdotes, reflections on city life, and the universal language of love, underscores the mayor’s belief in the strength and beauty of London’s diverse community, capturing the essence of the city he serves.

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