Labour refers Tory mayoral campaign to CPS in leaflet row

Labour has called for the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate whether a leaflet by the Tories’ London mayoral candidate breached electoral law.

Lawyers for the party have written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Parkinson, after Conservative Susan Hall’s campaign sent yellow and black leaflets featuring the words “Driving charge notice, do not ignore”.

Labour said the leaflets were designed to look like penalty charge notices “to lure voters into opening them”, while inside they contained claims Mayor Sadiq Khan was planning to introduce a pay-per-mile scheme for drivers.

Mr Khan has repeatedly ruled out introducing such a charge and accused Ms Hall’s campaign of spreading misinformation.

In their letter, Labour’s lawyers asked the DPP to investigate whether the leaflets had been properly labelled as political advertising, leading voters to fear “financial loss” by voting for Mr Khan.

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Conservative candidate Susan Hall’s campaign has claimed Sadiq Khan will introduce a ‘pay-per-mile’ scheme for drivers (James Manning/PA)

Labour MP Karen Buck, who chairs Mr Khan’s campaign, said: “We’re now seeing tactics being used by the Tories which rival even those used in their disgraced 2016 mayoral campaign.

“The Tories are scaremongering people who are already worried about their bills thanks to the catastrophic cost-of-living crisis they created.

“These tactics are legally questionable and certainly mark another low in this desperate Tory campaign characterised by dirty tactics and lies.

“Sadiq has ruled out ever bringing in pay per mile as long as he’s mayor – no ifs, no buts.”

Labour added that Mr Khan’s campaign, along with those of the Green Party and Liberal Democrat candidates, had signed up to the Reform Political Advertising Code, which commits parties to “make every reasonable effort not to mislead voters” and “ensure that factual claims are accurate according to recognised sources”.

Reform Political Advertising confirmed that Mr Khan’s campaign had signed up to the code, while Ms Hall’s had been approached by the group but not responded.

A spokesperson for Ms Hall said: “This is desperate nonsense from Sadiq Khan’s campaign, intended to distract from his plans to hit every single family in our city with a pay-per-mile charge.

“It’s a plan he’s so proud of, he gloated about in his book and has legally committed Transport for London to deliver.

“Londoners will see through this; Sadiq Khan’s record of dishonesty speaks for itself.”

The CPS, which does not investigate alleged offences but can refer them to the relevant police force, is understood to be considering the letter.