Khan launches attack ad as Hall rebrand pretends she’s not a Tory

Khan launches attack ad as Hall rebrand pretends she’s not a Tory

The frontrunners in the race for City Hall have taken different approaches to seeking Londoners’ votes early this week, with Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan releasing a poster claiming Conservative candidate Susan Hall would cancel some of his flagship policies, and Hall conducting a low-profile weekend “launch” and a rebrand of campaign materials which barely mention that she’s a Tory.

A Labour “AdVan” will tour London from today alleging that Hall would end Khan’s freeze of Transport for London (TfL) public transport fares, his funding for free school meals for primary school children, his clean air policies and the programme he supports for reforming the Metropolitan Police.

Labour is also highlighting Hall’s past social media activity, which includes expressing enthusiasm for Donald Trump, to say she is “out of touch with Londoners”.

Prior to her selection as Conservative candidate Hall said she would retain Khan’s free school meals funding “for as long as the cost of living situation requires it”, though her campaign plan does not mention the issue.

Her plan does, however, pledge “zero tolerance for toxic or corrupt officers and those who protect them” and commits to increasing greater use of electric vehicles.

Advan graphic

A gathering described on X/Twitter by Conservative London Assembly candidate Julie Redmond as a “campaign launch for Susan Hall” took place yesterday at an outdoor location in Uxbridge, where the Tories hung on to the local parliamentary seat at a by-election last July despite a large swing to Labour.

Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero and MP for East Surrey was present and some of Hall’s fellow Tory London Assembly candidates were also pictured.

On London was not invited to the launch and understands that larger media organisations weren’t either. The Evening Standard reported that Hall’s message to Londoners was to “vote for change” and quoted her claiming that crime has “spiralled out of control”, criticising Khan’s record on “affordable family homes” and repeating her opposition to his second expansion of London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.

However, the paper’s reporter was not present at the Uxbridge gathering, which appears from Redmond’s social media feed have taken place on a road or in a car park (see top photograph). The approach contrasts strongly with Khan’s high-profile central London launch a week ago alongside Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

On London, which understands that a press release about the launch was sent to selected media organisations only, has asked the Hall campaign to confirm that the gathering was the formal beginning of Hall’s campaign and if any journalists were present or invited.

Yesterday, the Hall campaign website, Facebook page and X/Twitter feed changed their appearance to promote Hall as “A Mayor who listens” and urging Londoners to “Vote Susan”. The online materials barely mention the fact that she is the Conservative candidate, or her surname.

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It has also emerged that Hall will not take part in today’s hustings organised by the charity Age UK London, which campaigns for older Londoners, despite pledging last week to end the restriction on people over the age of 60 who hold concessionary travelcards using public transport free before 9am.

Khan, who leads Hall by 24 percentage points according to the most recent opinion poll, and Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie will not be present either. On London understands that Hall told the organisers last week that she would not be attending, following Khan declining his invitation four weeks ago and Blackie, having previously confirmed he would be there, then withdrawing. Khan, Blackie and Hall will be represented by other people. Green Party candidate Zoë Garbett will be there, however.

The restriction on older Londoner’s free travel concession dates from May 2020 as part of a deal Transport for London struck with the Conservative government to provide emergency financial support during the pandemic.

It was made permanent in January 2023 after the then transport minister, Grant Shapps, told TfL that the current funding settlement, made in August 2022, would not cover the cost of travel concessions “above those typically available in England” such as for the over-60s. provides unique coverage of the capital’s politics, development and culture. Support it and its writers for just £5 a month or £50 a year and get things for your money too. Details HERE. Photo from Julie Redmond X/Twitter feed.

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