Tory candidate Susan Hall 'thinking about' whether to hire a new Night Czar if elected mayor

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall has said she is still “thinking about” whether to hire a Night Czar if she is elected, with just ten days until Londoners go to the polls.

Ms Hall has repeatedly criticised the current Night Czar, Amy Lamé, calling her the “poster child” of the “chumocracy” that she claims Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has created at City Hall.

But while the Conservative candidate intends to sack Ms Lamé, her manifesto does not clarify whether she would abolish the position or recruit a replacement.

The role was created by Mr Khan shortly after his election in 2016, having said in his manifesto that year that the Czar would “champion London’s vibrant night-time economy”.

Ms Hall - who has said Ms Lamé is part of a “merry-go-round of mediocrity” in Mr Khan’s administration - confirmed however that if she did decide to hire a replacement, they would be on a lower rate of pay than the role’s current £117,000 annual salary.

“This is taxpayers’ money,” she said. “This is money that is Londoners’ money, and to throw it at your friends is a damned disgrace, isn’t it?”

Writing in the Standard last month, Ms Hall said Ms Lamé’s appointment “screams of nepotism”, as she is “a buddy of Sadiq Khan” and a “Labour member and activist”.

She also pointed out: “Up in Manchester, they have a Night Czar that brings their expertise for much less. He does it for nothing.”

On the question of whether she would appoint a “chum” herself, she said on Monday: “I don’t have any political chums - absolutely not.

“I will not put so-called friends in positions, I will put people in who know how to do the job, because I am very serious about getting things right in London - and the only way you can do that isn’t by putting your mates in, it’s by putting experts in.”

The mayor has rejected suggestions that Ms Lamé was recruited through “nepotism”, saying in 2016 that she was “appointed through an open, robust and transparent recruitment process”.

He told Times Radio in March that he believes the work she does represents good value for money for London, with Ms Lamé arguing that her job is important “to support and supercharge the capital’s life at night”.

Setting out her plans for London’s night economy, Ms Hall said her pledge to extend the Night Tube to the Hammersmith and City line, with further lines hopefully to follow, would help the capital’s nightlife “considerably”.

The Tory candidate added: “But it’s not just that - we need to make sure that the streets are safer, because if your customers come and witness nothing but gangs running around with machetes, they’re not going to want to come again.

“So nightlife, I absolutely support, but I will support it with all the other things that the mayor is supposed to get right.

“Because Sadiq Khan is getting everything wrong at the moment, it’s having a terrible impact on businesses.”

Writing in his own manifesto last week, Mr Khan said he was “proud to have delivered on” his 2016 promise “to be the most pro-business mayor yet, working in partnership with businesses to boost skills provision, infrastructure and growth”.

On crime, he said that “despite our population rising by more than a million people, we have seen a reduction in homicides, gun crime, burglary and the number of young people being injured with knives in London since 2016”, but he argued that “national cuts since 2010 have been a disaster for combatting crime across the country”.

The London mayoral election is on Thursday, May 2, along with elections to the London Assembly.