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3 October 2023

Condemn Susan Hall’s “Islamophobic” Sadiq Khan comments, Labour tells Tories

The Conservative London mayoral candidate claimed Jews were “frightened” by her rival.

By Rachel Wearmouth

The Conservative chairman Greg Hands must immediately condemn “demonstrably Islamophobic” comments made by Susan Hall, the party’s London mayoral candidate, about her rival Sadiq Khan, Labour says.

A letter to Hands by Anneliese Dodds, the Labour Party chair, seen by the New Statesman, calls for her Tory counterpart to “stand up for decency in politics” and distance himself from Hall after she said Jewish people were “frightened” of the “divisive” Khan, who is a Muslim. Khan will be seeking a third term as the Labour mayor of London next year.

Hall told a Conservative Friends of Israel fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester: “One of the most important things we can do when I become mayor of London is make it safer for everybody, but particularly for our Jewish community, so I will ask for as much help as I can in London because we need to defeat him, particularly for our Jewish community.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is among the numerous organisations and individuals to have condemned the comments. 

In the letter to Hands, Dodds highlights Khan’s consistent support for the Jewish community as mayor, particularly in the face of anti-Semitic attacks. She says that Hall’s comments are “clearly designed to stoke division” and are “demonstrably Islamophobic”.

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[See also: Does Susan Hall have any hope against Sadiq Khan?]

Dodds cites other offensive remarks from Hall, highlighted by the anti-racism organisation Hope Not Hate as part of an investigation into her social media use, and accuses the mayoral candidate of a “pattern of behaviour”. Hall liked a tweet referring to Khan as the “mayor of Londonistan”, and a tweet featuring an image of Enoch Powell alongside the words “it’s never too late to save your country”. Hall was recently forced to apologise for liking these tweets on LBC.

In the letter, Dodds says: “Rishi Sunak has lost control of his party. The constant slew of embarrassing stories emerging from this conference show he is in office but not in power. Susan Hall’s comments are grossly offensive. If she thinks she can divide Jewish and Muslim communities in order to get elected, then she is revealing just how little she understands London.   

“Sadiq has been a strong advocate for all Londoners and it is wrong to suggest that anyone should be ‘frightened’ of him. The Conservatives must condemn these dog-whistle remarks in the strongest possible terms.”

[See also: Where does Labour stand on HS2?]

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