Sadiq Khan has referred to Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall as “someone who has repeatedly promoted divisive and racist content on social media” and Hall has accused the Labour Mayor of using “fear tactics” to increase compliance with his Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in a burst of election campaign hostilities over the New Year period.
Khan, who is seeking a third term as Mayor of London at the election on 2 May, urged Londoners see Hall as part of a wider resurgence of “extreme” or “hard” right populist politicians in Europe and elsewhere, citing recent election outcomes in the Netherlands and Argentina and the possibility of Donald Trump winning the US presidency again in November.
Writing for the Daily Express, Hall argued that the public “may struggle to tell the difference between a crook trying rob you” and what she called “a ULEZ enforcer”, meaning a member of a team sent out by Transport for London to detect motor vehicles that don’t comply with ULEZ air quality standards.
She continued: “One ULEZ enforcer was even caught on video appearing to run over a protester and drive off without stopping,” seemingly a reference to an incident reported by ITV London News last November, in which a driving instructor who was part of an organised group attempting to prevent ULEZ detection personnel going about their work was hurt. Hall told ITV News London the incident was “apparently a hit and run by one of Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ enforcers,” though there have been no reports of arrests or charges.
In what City Hall billed as a “New Year’s rallying cry to progressive voters in London and the UK” to resist a threat to “liberal values”, Khan reminded Londoners that shortly before the US presidential vote in 2020 Hall had urged Trump to “make sure you win” and “wipe the smile of (sic)” the face of Khan, who had been critical of Trump, now the frontrunner to be the Republican presidential candidate again despite facing a string of criminal indictments.
Khan contends that the introduction a Voter ID requirement for UK elections could have the effect of making groups disposed to vote Labour less likely to be able to vote, and that the Conservative government has changed the voting system for mayoral elections to make it easier for Tory candidates to win.
All six elections for Mayor of London so far have used the Supplementary Vote system, which enables electors to cast a vote for their second preference candidate as well as their first. At the most recent mayoral election, held in 2021, Khan significantly increased his lead over Conservative Shaun Bailey once second preference votes for him, mostly cast by Liberal Democrat and Green supporters, were added to his first preference total.
Quoted in the Express today, Hall has called Khan a “walking disaster” and asserted that he is “desperate” because he “knows Londoners are sick to death of him and want a change”. She also criticised the Mayor’s New Year firework display for announcing that they were presented by the Mayor of London, though it is not the first time mayoral support for the annual display has been mentioned in it. In 2014, for example, the then Tory Mayor Boris Johnson’s involvement was highlighted.
The last three opinion polls have given Khan leads of 25, 20 and 27 percentage points over Hall, though two conducted shortly after her selection as Tory candidate in July put her much closer behind Khan.
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