London Tory MP’s letter suggests Conservatives have ‘given up’ on winning City Hall

Uxbridge MP Steve Tuckwell downplays Tory candidate Susan Hall’s chances of becoming mayor, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

City Hall and (inset) Steve Tuckwell
City Hall and (inset) Steve Tuckwell

A Tory MP has urged Londoners to vote for “someone else” other than Sadiq Khan in the upcoming mayoral election, without suggesting they vote Conservative.

The letter from Uxbridge MP Steve Tuckwell also downplays Tory candidate Susan Hall’s chances of becoming mayor, as it says voters should simply ensure “Sadiq wins by a smaller margin than he’s expecting”.

A small imprint at the bottom of the letter reveals that it has been published “on behalf of Susan Hall” by her election agent, though it does not explain that she is the Conservative candidate for London mayor. Similarly, Tuckwell has signed the letter as “MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip”, without mentioning his party.

The letter, which has been distributed to homes in Lambeth and possibly elsewhere in London, appears to be an attempt to draw votes away from the Labour mayor in any direction, to reduce his vote-share and possibly allow Hall to come out in front.

Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie, who received a copy to his home this week, said: “This letter is extraordinary. It is a clear admission that the Conservatives have given up on winning in London – and no wonder, their support is in free fall.

“They state their aim is merely to reduce Khan’s majority and then don’t even have the confidence to ask the resident to vote Conservative – just ‘someone else’ will do.

“Well, we have a suggestion for those who don’t like Khan’s record but have given up on the Conservative Party – vote Liberal Democrat.”

Susan Hall’s campaign team was invited to comment, but declined. Tuckwell was separately approached for comment, but did not respond.

His letter states: “If Sadiq Khan wins the mayoral election easily, he’ll use it as proof that Londoners back his Ulez extension. That’s why I’m asking you to use your postal vote to send Sadiq Khan a message.

“You’ve seen the polls. You’ve heard the commentators. The mayor thinks he’s going to win this election easily.

“That means we have a chance to make a difference. Because if Sadiq wins by a smaller margin than he’s expecting, he’ll be forced to sit up and listen to us.”

According to the latest YouGov poll, published on Friday, Khan has a 19-point lead over Hall.

Tuckwell was elected last year in a by-election, after Boris Johnson resigned from Parliament. His success was thought to be due to his campaign’s heavy opposition to the mayor’s decision to expand the Ulez across Greater London.

The MP’s letter goes on: “If enough Londoners use their postal votes for someone else, Sadiq Khan will HAVE to listen to us. And that means progress for our priorities.

“We can save local police stations. We can build the family homes that Londoners need. And we can scrap the Ulez extension.

“So don’t let Sadiq Khan take your vote for granted and ignore you for another four years. Use your postal vote for someone else, and let’s make the mayor sit up and listen.”

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: “This election is a close two-horse race between Labour and the Tory candidate.

“The choice is clear: Sadiq, who is focused on delivering for all Londoners and uniting our communities, or the Tory candidate who voted against the [TfL] fares freeze and would cancel free school meals.”

Hall has said that Khan’s £140million-a-year scheme to provide free lunches for all London primary school pupils means that Londoners “on the breadline” could be paying for food “for people who may be millionaires’ children”.

She said at ITV London’s debate this week: “That money could be targeted at the kids who really need that, far better than a blanket [scheme] for everybody.”

The London mayoral election is on Thursday 2nd May, along with elections to the London Assembly.

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