Rory Stewart’s silly comment about gangsters betrays a wider ignorance

Rory Stewart’s casual and foolish assumption that three young Black men he met in Brick Lane must be “minor gangsters” exposes how unfit he is to be London's mayor.

His crude and ignorant racial stereotyping is a reminder that the Tories just don’t understand London.

Another example was Zac Goldsmith’s infamous dog-whistle election campaign against Sadiq Khan in 2014. The Tories simply assumed that it would work on Londoners as it might in small-town England. Again, they don’t understand our town or its people.

Moreover Mr Stewart’s kind of stereotyping is a big problem, particularly for young people. When anyone in authority imagines young Black men – even unconsciously – as being gangster-type people, it affects those young people’s job prospects, their livelihoods, their freedom to walk the streets.

London needs to be run by Londoners. No Tory is fit to be our mayor, but because London’s autonomy is so limited, we are in any case governed by people who routinely make these kind of assumptions about us. That isn’t right, and it has to change.