Sadiq Khan has 24 hour police protection after receiving hundreds of threats on social media

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been forced to have 24-hour police protection after receiving hundreds of threats on social media.

Mr Khan says the Brexit referendum campaign “allowed things to come to the surface” and had led to a rise in the level of abuse he was receiving.

The Times reported that City Hall referred 17 cases to the police in a three-month period last year and 237 threats were made on social media.

Mr Khan told the paper’s magazine that the abuse had gone from “name-calling, trolling and threats to terrorism”.

He said: “I don’t want to use the race or religion card, but I’m going to talk about it because there are now people going from name-calling, trolling and threats to terrorism.

“I will not be cowed or bullied by these people, but you can’t escape the fact that those close to me are worried. 

“It can’t be right that one of the consequences of me being the mayor of London and a Muslim in public life is that I have police protection. Is that the price you should have to pay?

“What sort of message does it send to members of my children’s generation who want to get into politics?”

Mr Khan says while he was the victim of racist abuse as a child, it has “evolved” into a “torrent of Islamophobic abuse.”

The paper said some of the threats Mr Khan receives is so disturbing that his staff are offered counselling to help them deal with the impact of what they read.

He added: “The referendum campaign allowed things to come to the surface and normalised things that should not be normalised.

“People have got the impression, wrongly, that it’s OK to use the p-word or the n-word or the y-word when it comes to Asians, black or Jewish people.

“It starts with name calling; it can lead to criminal damage and graffiti [and] ultimately to the situation where Jo Cox is murdered or a terrorist can come to London and try to divide communities.”