Tory frontrunner sets out why she’s the candidate Sadiq Khan fears
Susan Hall tackles Sadiq Khan over ULEZ expansion
The Tory frontrunner to take on Sadiq Khan said she is a “thorn in is side” as she insisted she is the candidate he fears.
Susan Hall, who is the favourite to be the Conservative candidate at next May’s London mayoral election, has regularly clashed with the London Mayor during her six years in the London Assembly.
Setting out why Mr Khan fears her, Ms Hall told the Express: “Because he knows I know how things work, because he knows I’m relentless, because he knows I want this job.
“I’ve been a thorn in his side for six years. I’ve got the passion and the drive to do it. And I just want to make London better.
“I don’t want to be an MP. I don’t want any other political job. I just want this one because this one I can make a difference.”
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The former Conservative leader in City Hall also said she believes the Labour incumbent, who is seeking a third term, can be beaten.
She said: “Yes I do think he’s beatable. He’s taken his eye off the ball completely.”
Ms Hall, the ex-leader of Harrow Council, has used her political experience to distinguish her from rivals.
She said: “I do know how councils are run properly because I’ve been a leader and I know how the London Assembly works because I’ve been on there now for six years.
“So I get how the whole thing works, I think the experience is certainly in my favour.”
Ms Hall, who became a councillor in 2006, added: “I tend to say what I think and politicians rarely do that these days for fear of being chastised.”
She has set out a no-nonsense pitch focusing on the key issues of transport, crime and housing.
Ms Hall has vowed to immediately scrap Mr Khan’s hated expansion of London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) if she takes office.
She said: “I’d stop the ULEZ extension on day one, it’s nothing but a cash grab from Khan as usual.”
Ms Hall also insisted the “pay-as-you-drive” scheme being eyed up by the London Mayor is “absolutely not on my radar and wouldn’t be at all”.
On housing, the Tory hopeful wants to see “high density but low level properties” rather than unattractive tower blocks.
She said: “We need to locate where all the places in London are that have nooks and crannies that can be built on, not on the green belt.”
Ms Hall is also determined for Londoners, and particularly women, to feel safer in the capital.
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She said: “There are more frontline officers now than there’s ever been. But the safer neighbourhood teams they’re extracted everywhere to do other things, they shouldn’t be.
“We should have proper safer neighbourhood teams in place doing their job. There are enough officers for that.”
Ms Hall has earmarked £200million for special units on each basic command unit in the Met Police to “deal with so-called low-level crime and that is burglaries, thefts, robberies”.
She is also looking at ways to help the capital’s night-time economy.
She said: “There’s just no strategic approach to that whatsoever. Any decent city like ours should draw people in, a really good night-time economy.
“It could be so wonderful but we’re losing venues left, right and centre.
“I’m looking into where we could get some funding from and how we could do a strategic approach to it.”
Ms Hall has insisted she would “never ever pledge anything that I haven’t found money for and that I couldn’t deliver”.
She said: “And no more of these pledges that you can’t deliver. If you’re going to make a pledge, make sure you know where the money’s coming from to pay for it, make sure it’s within your remit.
“And then if you promise it, you make sure that if you’re in that job that you’re going for that you absolutely deliver on everything you’ve promised. I feel strongly about it, I really do, we’ve got to bring trust back into politics.”
Ms Hall said key issues on the doorstep depend on the area of London but include the ULEZ expansion, housing and crime.
She said: “When I was knocking on doors in Uxbridge, I was expecting a whole load of Boris issues and it was all the ULEZ extension because I don’t think Khan realises just how much damage this is going to do to not only small businesses but poor families it’s disgraceful. So that you get in outer London all the time.
“In inner London it’s far more crime and housing. London is not the same, it’s very different, it’s part of the beauty of it.”
The race to become the Tory London mayoral candidate was thrown into chaos by the withdrawal of tech entrepreneur Daniel Korski after a TV producer accused him of groping her a decade ago, which he denies.
There were calls for the selection process to be reopened but the Conservative Party confirmed it would go ahead with the two remaining hopefuls, Ms Hall and barrister Mozammel Hossain.
Ms Hall insisted it was right for the contest to continue, saying: “We’re over half the way through, I think we’ve done 12 or 13 hustings already. It’s all been done in a fair and democratic way, it needs to just finish now.”
Hustings run to July 3 before voting opens to Tory members in London. The chosen candidate will be unveiled on July 19.
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