Tory London mayor candidate sparks fury with ‘Jewish community frightened of Khan’ claim

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Tory London mayor candidate sparks fury with ‘Jewish community frightened of Khan’ claim

Speaking at the CFI reception at the Conservative conference, Susan Hall said: 'I know how frightened some of the community are because of the divisive attitude of Sadiq Khan'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Susan Hall speaking at Monday's CFI reception at Tory Party conference in Manchester
Susan Hall speaking at Monday's CFI reception at Tory Party conference in Manchester

The Conservative London mayoral candidate Susan Hall has attempted to suggest the capital’s Jewish community are “frightened” of “divisive” Sadiq Khan in a speech at a fringe event at Conservative conference that immediately drew widespread condemnation.

Speaking at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s reception in Manchester on Monday night, Hall went on to suggest that “one of the most important things” that needed to be done if she was elected mayor in next May’s mayoral election was to “make it safe for everybody, but particularly for our Jewish community.”

In comments that stunned some of the community attending the packed event, former Harrow councillor Hall said she understood the “wealth and joy of the community” in north London, where she also lives.

She then added: “I know how frightened some of the community is because of the divisive attitude of Sadiq Khan. One of the most important things we can when I become mayor of London is to make it safer for everyone, but particularly for our Jewish community.”

Hall continued: “I will ask for as much help I can get in London because we need to defeat him, particularly for our Jewish community.”

The comments were quickly condemned after New Statesman journalist Rachel Wearmouth, who attended the event, tweeted Hall’s comments.

London Jewish Labour MPs and councillors were joined by shadow health secretary Wes Streeting in issuing strong condemnations of the mayoral candidates remarks.

Streeting tweeted: “This is divisive and disgusting. Sadiq Khan has repeatedly stood by London’s Jewish communities in the fight against antisemitism. Susan Hall’s dog whistle politics have no place in London. Will decent Conservatives ever call this out?”

Dame Margaret Hodge added:”This dog-whistle politics is beneath us all. Sadiq has been a loyal friend to the Jewish community, Jewish Labour MPs and the Jewish Labour Movement.

“He has always called out antisemitism, wherever it has reared. If she had any integrity, Susan Hall would immediately retract her remarks.”

Jewish Labour councillor Miriam Mirwitch added: “This is incredibly grim from Susan Hall. London deserves better than this rhetoric. Sadiq Khan has been a consistent ally to the Jewish community. Our Mayor has stood against antisemitism throughout his tenure. We don’t need Susan Hall to speak for us.”

The Jewish Labour Movement added: “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.”

The Board of Deputies then issued a statement, saying: “Throughout his tenure as mayor Sadiq Khan has treated our community with friendship and respect.

“We hope to co-host the key mayoral candidates at a 2024 Jewish hustings where it will be clear that while London Jews may have varying political views there is no fear present at all.”

Camden councillor and JLM official, Rebecca Filer tweeted: “Susan Hall saying the Jewish community is scared of Sadiq Khan? Feels quite Islamophobic to me…”

Earlier this month Hall was revealed by the anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate to have previously “liked” a tweet with a picture of Enoch Powell in February 2020 .

The tweet depicted Powell with the words: “It’s never too late to get London back,” an apparent reference to the city’s multiculturalism.

She also told an LBC phone in she “can’t remember” backing a post by Katie Hopkins which described Sadiq Khan as “our nipple height mayor of Londonistan”.

Hall, a London assembly member, was the surprise choice by the Conservatives to take on Khan in next year’s mayoral election.

She is known for her hard-right views and her strong support for Donald Trump and Liz Truss.

A spokesperson for Hall’s campaign said of the tweets: “Susan engages with many people on Twitter without endorsing their views.”

Jewish News has approached them for comment on Hall’s latest speech.

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