Sadiq Khan: London mayor deepfake almost caused ‘serious disorder’ | Politics News

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has claimed deepfake audio of him attacking remembrance events almost caused “serious disorder” in the capital.

Speaking to the BBC, the Labour politician said the clip that circulated around social media was “a red rag to a bull for the far right” – and he warned current laws were “not fit for purpose” to tackle the issue.

Politics live: Labour antisemitism row deepens

The audio of Mr Khan was widely shared in November 2023 during growing tensions around a large pro-Palestinian protest planned for Armistice Day.

Then home secretary Suella Braverman had described the demonstrations as “hate marches”, and questioned whether the police were “playing favourites” with protesters over those marking the end of World War One.

Meanwhile, members of the far right had vowed to protect the Cenotaph on Whitehall from the march – despite the route avoiding the war memorial altogether.

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge

Sky News Monday to Thursday at 7pm.
Watch live on Sky channel 501, Freeview 233, Virgin 602, the Sky News website and app or YouTube.

Tap here for more

The AI-generated audio purported to show Mr Khan saying: “I don’t give a flying s*** about the remembrance weekend.”

The voice added: “What’s important and paramount is the one million man Palestinian march takes place on Saturday.”

“We almost had serious disorder,” the mayor told the BBC. “What was being said was a red rag to a bull for the far right and others.

“But what concerned me the most was if you’re an innocent listener of this. Because it’s a secret undercover recording, in inverted commas, because it sounds like me, because of the timing and the context.”

Mr Khan said the clip “wasn’t a bit of fun” or “satire”, adding the person who made it would not be “naive” about what it could lead to.

“People should be able to criticise me,” he said. “But I think what you shouldn’t do is use AI to manufacture lies. And I think the person that made this needs to realise the consequences on that Saturday.”

At least 92 far-right protesters were arrested around the Cenotaph, while later in the day, about 100 pro-Palestinian protesters who broke off from the 300,000 person march were detained.

Specialist officers in the Metropolitan Police investigated the creation of the deepfake audio, but later concluded it did not “constitute a criminal offence”.

Mr Khan said the law was “fit for purpose” and called for more to be done, as well as giving the Electoral Commission more powers to deal with deepfakes.

Recommended For You