Tory mayoral hopeful posted ‘hateful’ message about TV star on Twitter, says rival

Susan Hall: under fire for attacking reality TV star Gemma Collins on Twitter  (Ross Lydall)
Susan Hall: under fire for attacking reality TV star Gemma Collins on Twitter (Ross Lydall)

The frontrunner to become the Tory mayoral candidate has been accused of publishing “intolerant, hateful” messages on social media in a heated row with her rival.

Moz Hossain claimed that tweets by Susan Hall - such as in 2014 about the reality TV star Gemma Collins, who she called a “stupid, fat blonde woman” when she appeared on I’m A Celebrity – meant she would not appeal to a wide cross-section of London voters.

He said Ms Hall, a London Assembly member and former leader of Harrow council, was “somebody who writes intolerant, hateful Twitter”.

But Ms Hall hit back by claiming that Mr Hossain, a criminal barrister who has no political experience, had no idea how City Hall or London politics worked after her questioned what she had done to stop the Met police going into special measures.

As a London Assembly member, Mr Hall has no political control over the running of the Met. She said of Mr Hossain: “He doesn’t understand how London works.”

Pointing the finger: Moz Hossain criticises Tory rival Susan Hall (Ross Lydall)
Pointing the finger: Moz Hossain criticises Tory rival Susan Hall (Ross Lydall)

The exchange – on a LBC radio hustings – saw an outbreak of hostilities between the two candidates a week before the Conservatives announce their candidate to take on Labour mayor Sadiq Khan next May. About 20,000 London Tory members have been voting for their preferred choice.

Tory Central Office had previously advised the candidates to avoid “blue on blue” attacks, especially after a third candidate, Dan Korski, was forced to withdraw.

Asked about the tweets, Ms Hall admitted she had been “a bit mean”. But she said she had a large Twitter following because she spoke her mind. “It was unkind,” she said. “I have not called anybody that since. Sometimes I just say what I’m thinking.”

Presenter Iain Dale questioned Mr Hossain’s claim that he would be able to build “up to 700,000 homes” on brownfield land and unused TfL sites, prompting the King’s Counsel (KC) to admit: “I don’t think you can build that many houses in four years, of course you can’t.”

Mr Hossain was unable to say how many homes he would build in a first term of office, and criticitised people who were “obsessed with figures”.

But Mr Dale told him: “It’s another figure you can’t come up with.”

And Ms Hall, who declined to give a specific housebuilding figure, said: “I would rather be realistic and get some proper figures. I won’t allow anything to go out that I don’t know I can deliver and I don’t know where the money is coming from.”

Earlier Mr Hossain had vowed not to close any more police stations – and to reopen those that had been closed. He also promised to put more police on the streets.

Asked by Mr Dale how much this would cost, Mr Hossain replied: “That is not a figure I have looked at carefully yet.”

Ms Hall said she would give frontline police officers hand-held knife “wands” to eliminate the need for invasive searches by hand. “I’m a massive supporter of stop and search,” she said. “You get so many knives off the street.”

Mr Hossain defended members of his campaign team who attended the then Tory candidate Shaun Bailey’s “jingle and mingle” partygate bash at Tory HQ in December 2020, when covid restrictions were in place.

“The people you talk about in my team are very remorseful ,” he said. “I’m going to give them a second chance.”