Who is the Conservative London mayoral candidate Susan Hall?

Former salon owner backed Brexit and believes London needs more police to stamp out burglaries

Susan Hall has pledged to scrap the Ulez expansion if elected as London mayor. PA
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Susan Hall, the Conservative Party’s candidate in next year's London mayoral election, has been dubbed “Sadiq Khan’s worst nightmare”.

Known for her robust exchanges with the Labour mayor at City Hall, Ms Hall is bidding to unseat her rival on a campaign of pledges to reverse many of his policies.

The former council leader, 68, was announced as winner of the Tories’ mayoral candidacy race on Wednesday, after gaining 57 per cent of votes from London members of the party.

She has fashioned herself as a “no-nonsense” woman willing to work day and night to improve the lives of the capital’s nine million inhabitants.

Mr Khan, 52, who is vying for a historic third term in office, says she will “fail” Londoners if elected.

What is Susan Hall’s background?

Ms Hall is from Harrow in the north-west of the city and has described herself as a “Londoner through and through”.

She previously worked as a mechanic in her father’s garage and owned a hair salon.

She has served as a councillor in Harrow since 2006 and was leader of the Conservatives and head of the council for several years.

Ms Hall was first elected to the London Assembly in 2017. The following year she became deputy leader of the City Hall Conservatives, before progressing to leader in 2019, a title which she held until May.

What are Susan Hall’s campaign pledges?

Ms Hall has built her campaign on a foundation of “common-sense policies” and said she will “work morning, noon and night” to improve the lives of Londoners.

The mayoral hopeful has promised to “stop the Ulez expansion on day one” if elected to City Hall.

Mr Khan’s decision to expand the Ulez (ultra-low emission zone), set to take place on August 29, has proved divisive among London drivers.

The left-wing Mayor has been criticised for placing an added expense of people during a cost-of-living crisis but argues it is a necessary step to improve air quality. The changes to the Ulez boundary will mean drivers in outer boroughs of the city will have to pay £12.50 a day to use their car if it is classed as a high-polluting model.

Ms Hall has said Ulez is “nothing but a tax” and will not improve London’s air quality.

As an alternative, she proposes a widening of London’s roads to cut congestion and clean up the air.

The former councillor has built her campaign on the slogan Safer with Susan and has pledged to take £200 million ($257 million) from the City Hall budget to fund a "low-level" policing unit to tackle burglaries.

Highlighting a rise in knife crime, she has called Mr Khan “delusional” for claiming he has made London safer.

She claimed that as mayor, Mr Khan is also London’s police and crime commissioner and therefore in charge of policing in the capital. People might not know that because “he blames the government for absolutely everything”, she said.

Ms Hall has said if she becomes mayor she would build more properties in London "so that youngsters have got some prospect of buying their own homes”.

She has described herself as a Brexit-supporting “low-tax Tory".

What has Susan Hall said?

Since being announced as the Tory choice of candidate for the London mayoral contest on Wednesday morning, views expressed by Ms Hall in the past have come under intense scrutiny.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s press secretary was pressed on a host of comments Ms Hall has made.

Asked if Mr Sunak shared Ms Hall’s view that Liz Truss’s mini-budget was a moment of “joy” for the country, his spokesman suggested he did not. She said he was clear before and after the mini-budget that “unfunded tax cuts and increased borrowing would fuel inflation”.

Asked if the Prime Minister agrees with Ms Hall that Boris Johnson was an “awesome” leader, No 10 made reference to Mr Sunak’s praise for his former boss and his achievements while in office.

Ms Hall’s decision to back Home Secretary Suella Braverman's comments that the UK was experiencing an “invasion” of illegal migrants was also raised in No 10’s briefing with reporters on Wednesday.

Mr Sunak “would not characterise [the Channel crisis] in those terms”, his spokeswoman said.

Ms Hall’s comparison between Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with anti-Brexit politicians in the UK was also touched on.

In a tweet posted on the day of the riot, Ms Hall said: “I am flabbergasted at the amount of Remainers screaming on Twitter that Trump voters should respect democracy – err, hellooo – pot – kettle spring to mind!”

Mr Sunak’s spokeswoman said: “I don’t think the Prime Minister would characterise it in that way.”

Asked if Mr Sunak considers Ms Hall a liability to the Conservative Party, No 10 said: “No. She has shown great commitment to bettering London with the Conservatives and highlighting the many failures of Sadiq Khan including his desire to charge people up to £12.50 a day, as the Prime Minister said, just to visit their GP.

“She has the full support of the PM.”

Mr Sunak has not met Ms Hall recently but the press secretary said “I believe he has” encountered her in the past.

London Labour has branded Ms Hall an "extreme" politician.

Updated: July 19, 2023, 4:00 PM