Fact Check: Video Does Not Show Sadiq Khan Talking About New City Model

Mon May 13 2024
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LONDON: A video featuring Shyam Batra, an independent candidate in London’s May 2024 election for mayor, discussing the “15-minute city” planning model as imposing a “lockdown”, has been misidentified online as a clip of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The footage originates from Batra’s interview with IBTimes UK in February 2024, where he discussed the C40 network of urban mayors and Mayor Khan’s involvement with it. Batra, a finance and property broker, had previously expressed intentions to abolish the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and traffic-congestion charges, and reform London’s policy system if elected. However, Batra did not ultimately participate as one of the thirteen candidates in the May 2 mayoral election, which Khan, the Labour Party candidate, won with 43.8% of the vote.

The video circulated on social media in late April with a misleading caption attributing Batra’s remarks to Mayor Khan and incorrectly linking the discussion to the World Economic Forum (WEF). However, the clip actually stems from Batra’s interview uploaded to the IBTimes UK YouTube channel on February 29. Batra himself shared the clip on Instagram on April 5 with a different caption that did not align with the misleading posts.

It’s worth noting that Sadiq Khan serves as co-chair of C40 Cities, a global network of mayors addressing the climate crisis. However, C40 Cities is not affiliated with the World Economic Forum, as clarified by a spokesperson for the WEF. Reuters has previously addressed misinformation regarding C40 Cities, including debunking false claims about Khan signing a WEF treaty banning certain consumables and vehicles.

Contrary to assertions made in the social media posts, there is no evidence to suggest that the “15-minute city” urban planning model would entail a calorie-controlled diet, restrict travel beyond designated areas, freeze individuals’ bank accounts for non-compliance, or enforce a long-term lockdown.

The video features then-mayoral candidate Shyam Batra, not London Mayor Sadiq Khan, discussing C40 Cities in a campaign interview from February 2024. Additionally, there is no indication that cities adopting the “15-minute city” model intend to implement permanent lockdown measures.

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