Susan Hall launches ‘listening to Londoners’ mayoral campaign

Susan Hall has launched her mayoral election campaign with a promise to “listen to Londoners” and a heavy focus on what she describes as the “unfair” expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez).

The Tory hopeful accused Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan of having “ignored” voters in the capital for eight years as she kicked off her bid to run City Hall on Sunday.

Ms Hall’s key pledges include scrapping the expansion of the Ulez scheme on her first day in office and reopening the London Plan, which is Mr Khan’s development strategy, in an attempt to boost housebuilding.

She has also said she would encourage the removal of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), and “remove unnecessary 20mph zones on main TfL-controlled roads”.

London Overground rail lines renamed
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Speaking on the day of her campaign launch in Uxbridge, Ms Hall said: “Sadiq Khan has ignored Londoners for eight years. If he wins a third term, that would be giving him permission to ignore us again.

“Crime has spiralled out of control after he shut police stations and failed to recruit police, rents have spiked because he has not built the affordable family homes Londoners deserve, and he has imposed his unfair Ulez expansion tax, hitting the lowest earners the hardest.

“I am listening to Londoners. My priorities are Londoners’ priorities – and as mayor, I will recruit more police, build more affordable homes, and scrap the Ulez expansion on day one. On May 2, let’s send Sadiq Khan a message and vote for change.”

Recent polling by Savanta suggests Ms Hall is languishing behind Mr Khan by about 26 points, despite the public being split on the Mayor’s record in office.

The poll showed 51% of voters saying they would back Mr Khan against just 27% who said they would vote for Ms Hall, with younger voters and those who are Asian or black overwhelmingly backing the Mayor.

On Friday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attacked the Labour incumbent’s performance, saying he was “more interested in virtue signalling than delivering” and “failing on crime, failing on housing” and wanted to “tax motorists off the road”.

Mr Khan has promised not to expand the Ulez scheme further if he returns to the role after May’s election.

The zone was widened last August to cover the entirety of Greater London, a controversial move overseen by the London mayor.

Health and environmental campaigners supported the bid to improve air quality but opponents have complained of the financial impact, with the Tories also using it as an attack line against Labour.

People who drive in the zone in a vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards are required to pay a £12.50 daily fee or risk a £180 fine, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.

On the same day as Ms Hall’s campaign launch, Mr Khan ruled out increasing the charge if he gets re-elected and said there would be no changes to vehicle restrictions.

In response, the Tory candidate dubbed the promises “worthless” and said the Mayor was “taking Londoners for fools”.