OPINION - Susan Hall: Sadiq Khan has stuffed City Hall with his mates, but I will be different

 (Matt Writtle)
(Matt Writtle)

I will dismantle Sadiq Khan’s chumocracy. Under Sadiq Khan, City Hall has turned into a full-blown mates' club. He has doled out cushy jobs to his pals, acting like they’re rewards to dish out.

Amy Lamé is the poster child for this chumocracy, Sadiq Khan's £116k-a-year Night Czar, who seems to think her role is more about globe-trotting to Sydney than saving our city's nightlife. She toured the media last week because she was frustrated that people think she’s overpaid. Surely not?

She told everyone she saved London’s night life and that we were now a 24-hour city; even personally rescued a couple of venues like the G-A-Y nightclub. That was a bit awkward, given those cultural icons she claimed to have saved have actually shut down.

Despite her bold declarations that London's become a city that never sleeps, try finding a pint or a bite in most places after 9pm. It's a ghost town. Her appointment screams of nepotism. She's a buddy of Sadiq Khan, she’s a Labour member and activist, and she accused David Cameron of “using his dead son as a pawn.”

What a slap in the face, that every single Londoner has to pay for her salary. Well, I've got news for City Hall. The jig is up. So many Londoners I have spoken to are fed up with a Mayor who ignores them  If Amy Lamé is the “Night Tsar” then Sadiq Khan must think he is “the Tsar”, treating his office like royalty.

Unlike the current Mayor, who wouldn't know a good idea if it danced the Macarena in front of him, I'm all ears

That is not what being Mayor of London is about. And that is why I am running to replace him. As Mayor, I will dismantle this merry-go-round of mediocrity and bring in a team that knows their stuff—real experts committed to reviving our city's night economy and supporting the industries that keep London buzzing.

But I won't be shelling out mega-bucks for the gig either. Up in Manchester, they have a night tzar that brings their expertise for much less. He does it for nothing. I’d bring the budget down, deliver real bang for your buck – and not shell out £116K, plus expenses, four staff and a six-figure budget, on a political chum.

And unlike the current Mayor, who wouldn't know a good idea if it danced the Macarena in front of him, I'm all ears. Last month, I sat down with industry leaders, hearing firsthand the challenges our night venues are facing.

They told me the practical support they need to help make London the vibrant city it deserves to be. And I have pledged to do everything I can to help, working with local councils to get more licences approved. Plus, I will make sure local councils, wherever they can, know they have my backing to push last orders back a few hours, by extending their licensing hours.

Sadiq Khan won't listen, but I will. The choice on May 2nd couldn't be starker. On one side, you've got Sadiq Khan and his chums, treating City Hall like an Islington Labour club where the entry fee is loyalty, not skill. On the other, I stand ready to bring in a team of experts, people passionate about their city and determined to see it thrive.

We don’t need more lip service from someone more interested in jet-setting than their job setting. We'll take our nightlife seriously, giving the sector the backing it needs. We need to get a grip of crime and make our streets safe, so that more women feel comfortable enjoying our night economy.

And most of all, you deserve a Mayor who respects you and listens to you. That is what I am offering in May.

Susan Hall is the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London