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Susan Hall launches 'vote for change' mayoral campaign to oust Sadiq Khan

Tory Susan Hall has launched her mayoral campaign to oust Sadiq Khan from City Hall with a message to Londoners to “vote for change”.

She chose Uxbridge as the location for her launch on Sunday, highlighting how opposition to the expansion of the ultra low emission zone (Ulez) is a key part of her vision for London.

She also tore into Mr Khan’s record on crime and housing.

“I am listening to Londoners”, she countered, pledging to address these concerns by cracking down on crime, building more affordable homes, and scrapping Mr Khan’s Ulez expansion “on day one”.

A new poll on Saturday revealed Ms Hall was languishing far behind Mr Khan, who was 24 points ahead with just six weeks to go until the May 2 mayoral election.

The Savanta poll for the Centre for London put the Labour mayor on 51 per cent and the Tory contender 27 per cent, similar to a series of previous polls.

 (Supplied)
(Supplied)

But she aimed to turn this around as she launched her campaign on Sunday, saying: “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 2nd, let’s send Sadiq Khan a message and vote for change.”

Ms Hall pledged to “build more affordable family homes, by reopening the London Plan and stripping back Sadiq Khan’s red tape that is blocking development”.

No specific house building targets were given. But the Tory candidate vowed to “adopt a new focus on high-density, low-rise family homes”, and to restore the London Land Commission, to “identify public sector brownfield land that can be used for housing”.

On crime, Ms Hall pledged to “make our streets safe” by recruiting more police officers, returning to borough-based policing, introducing knife detection wands to improve stop-and-search, and by setting up specialist units to tackle robberies and theft.

She said this would be financed with “an unprecedented and fully costed commitment to invest £200 million into the police from City Hall”.

Ms Hall is a staunch opponent of the Ulez expansion, which she has vowed to scrap “the moment” she took office, if elected mayor on May 2.

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

Mr Khan launched his mayoral campaign on Monday, pledging to double his council homes target to 40,000 while saying the prospect of a Labour government and mayor offered a ‘once in a generation” chance to ease London’s housing crisis.

Launching her campaign in Uxbridge on Sunday, Ms Hall met with Londoners who her campaign group said “have grown tired of Sadiq ignoring them on crime, affordable housing, and the unfair Ulez expansion”.

The Uxbridge and South Ruislip parliamentary seat was defended by the Tories at a by-election last July.

MP Steve Tuckwell, who was the underdog in the fight for Boris Johnson’s former seat and had polled behind Labour, enjoyed a shock victory after having fought the entire parliamentary election campaign on opposition to Sadiq Khan’s expansion of the Ulez.

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said: “This election is a close two-horse race between Sadiq, and the hard-right Conservative candidate who couldn’t be more out of touch with London’s values.

“Sadiq is freezing TfL fares, providing free school meals for primary school children and building a record number of council homes. The Tory candidate cheered Liz Truss’s disastrous mini budget, has promoted racist comments by Enoch Powell on social media, and in the last few weeks voted against Sadiq’s plans to freeze TfL fares and provide free school meals.”