Conservative members have chosen Susan Hall as the party’s candidate to try to unseat Sadiq Khan in the 2024 London mayoral election.
Hall, who is a “strongly pro-Boris Johnson, Donald Trump-supporting [London] assembly member”, according to The Guardian, won a ballot of party members, with 57% of the vote. She beat Mozammel Hossain, a barrister “with virtually no frontline political experience”, in the two-person race after entrepreneur Daniel Korski dropped out “after allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a woman, which he denied”, said the paper.
Having previously written “I am the one [Sadiq Khan] fears” in an article for Conservative Home, Hall will vie to become mayor when Londoners vote next May.
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Who is Susan Hall?
Hall is from Harrow, in northwest London, where she “owns a hair salon and raised her family”, said Sky News. She “originally wanted to be a mechanic” and worked at her father’s garage after finishing school but “struggled to get into technical college as a woman”.
Her political career began when she was elected to Harrow Council in 2006, and she became its leader in 2013-14. Hall is “no stranger to City Hall”, having been a member of the London Assembly since 2017, replacing Kemi Badenoch after she was elected to Parliament.
She became deputy leader of the London Assembly Conservatives in 2018 and then its leader in 2019 – serving in this role until 2023.
What are her politics and policies?
Labour “immediately sought to portray Hall as ‘a hard-right politician’” who is “out of touch with our city and its values”, in light of her support for the likes of Johnson and Trump, said The Guardian. Hall is a “low-tax Tory” who offered “vehement support” to Liz Truss and her “short-lived government”.
Often an “outspoken character”, Hall argued that the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters was the “equivalent of UK politicians who opposed Brexit”. This led to criticism from Conservative Party leadership at the time.
Her political slogan is “Safer with Susan”, and her list of priorities include “tackling crime, the housing crisis and Ulez”, Sky News added.
She has also promised to address the housing crisis by “building a lot more homes in the right places” and will scrap the ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) “on day one”. She has previously argued that Ulez expansion, due to come into operation on 29 August, will “devastate families and small businesses”. She has also vowed to “lift 20mph speed limits on main roads” in central London, said the Evening Standard.
On crime, Hall has pledged to “hunt down and lock up muggers and burglars” by creating a special team within the Met Police, Sky News said. As her “main focus”, according to Evening Standard, she would return the Met to “a borough-based structure” and reintroduce borough commanders. She would also make stop and search “less intrusive” by giving frontline officers a “hand-held knife wand” to help them detect weapons.
Can Hall beat Sadiq Khan?
Hall is “likely to be seen as an outsider” in the race to become the mayor of London, said The Guardian, with her views on cultural issues also “problematic” in a liberal-leaning city.
She backed the home secretary, Suella Braverman, when she described small boat crossings as an “invasion”. Last year she was criticised for saying “the black community has ‘problems with crime’” and previously described police officers “taking the knee as ‘embarrassing’”, said Sky News.
Nevertheless, “Labour will face the obstacles of incumbency in seeking a third term”, and Hall thinks “I can beat him” and “sort out the mess he has left us”, as she wrote for Conservative Home. Hall “knows City Hall inside out” and has “spent decades knocking on doors, in the pouring rain, listening and talking to residents”.
She has described Khan as “beatable” and pointed out “he is underperforming Labour in London by a double digit margin”, suggesting “even the most loyal Labour supporters are sick of him”.
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