The Conservative London mayoral candidate has sparked fury after suggesting some Jewish people in London were “frightened” by the “divisive” Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, who is a Muslim.
Speaking at a fringe event hosted by Conservative Friends of Israel, Susan Hall asked for activists’ support in defeating Khan, who is standing for a third term (a video of her comments is available here).
The Tory candidate, who a recent YouGov poll put just one percentage point behind Khan, said: “I live in north London and I know the wealth and joy of the [Jewish] community. But I tell you something else, I know how frightened some of the community is because of the divisive attitudes of Sadiq Khan.
“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 Jewish Labour Movement said in response to Hall’s remarks: “This is dog-whistle politics from the Conservative candidate. Sadiq has a record to be proud of in standing up for Jewish Londoners, and Londoners of all backgrounds.”
Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, called for the Conservative Party to condemn Hall’s remarks. He said: “This is divisive and disgusting. Sadiq Khan has repeatedly stood by London’s Jewish communities in the fight against anti-Semitism. Susan Hall’s dog-whistle politics have no place in London. Will decent Conservatives ever call it out?”
The New Statesman has contacted the Conservative Party for comment.