Hall takes campaign to Khan’s childhood home

Conservative mayoral contender visits estate in Earlsfield where Labour mayor grew up, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Susan Hall campaigning in Earlsfield (credit Noah Vickers-LDRS) 2
Susan Hall campaigning in Earlsfield (credit Noah Vickers/LDRS)

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall took her campaign on Tuesday to Sadiq Khan’s childhood home – without realising.

The Conservatives’ City Hall contender visited Earlsfield’s Henry Prince Estate to learn about local issues with crime, though she admitted to ITV London that she had been unaware it was the very estate where her Labour opponent was raised.

Khan grew up there in a three-bedroom council flat as one of seven children – sharing a bedroom with two of his brothers.

Asked why she had come there specifically, Hall told the Local Democracy Reporter Service: “I’ve come to lots of estates in London – you just happen to be with me when I’m on this one.”

One of Hall’s campaign team had earlier said that Hall’s visit to the estate showed that their candidate is “listening to Londoners” from across the capital, not just those living in the most Tory-voting areas of outer London.

According to the latest YouGov poll, Hall is some 50 points behind Khan in inner London. The Labour mayor polls at 64% in the inner boroughs, with Hall on 14%.

In outer London, he leads her by five points, on 38% to her 33%. Across London, his lead is 19 points, on 46% to her 27%.

Hall said: “I never comment on polls. The big poll will be on 2nd May. I know I’m the underdog, but I am fighting extremely hard.”

The candidate was also quizzed on her plans to help London’s renters. Asked whether the city’s private tenants have enough rights, she said: “I think sometimes tenants are not treated as well as they could be, but equally, I know that sometimes tenants cause major problems within the home, so there’s no one answer [that] fits all there.”

Khan has emphasised in his manifesto how he has “stood up for renters”, including by lobbying ministers to ban Section 21 notices – also known as ‘no fault’ evictions. The government has promised to deliver such a ban before the next general election.

But Hall suggested she had mixed feelings on whether an outright ban is needed.

“This is a very complex issue,” she said. “Sometimes landlords have to evict people – I think giving them enough notice is important.

“The real thing here though is we need more homes… If there were more homes, then landlords would possibly be far more appreciative of their tenants, but it would also give people more options to go and rent elsewhere.”

She criticised Khan for filling his London Plan – an official strategy for development in the capital – with “bureaucracy”, which she argued had slowed the delivery of new homes.

‘Provisional’ figures for the final months of 2023 showed that house-building in the city has hit a record low – with just 580 homes started across London between October and December.

Khan said this was partly due to a lack of certainty from the government on fire safety rules, but also national challenges being faced by the house-building sector.

Hall’s manifesto promises “to boost investment in Build to Rent schemes, delivering purpose-built rented homes”.

The mayoral candidate was joined on her visit to Earlsfield by Conservative councillor Angela Graham, who introduced her to residents and explained local concerns about crime.

Hall said: “I do want to make sure that there are more police locally, which is why I’d go back to borough-based policing. I’ll put in two new ‘hubs’ into each of the boroughs to make sure that the police are actually stationed near the community that they’re going to be serving.

“Because then, if we had local police here, they could walk through this estate – and it would certainly give people a much better feeling of safety. Particularly women, I must say – if women see police officers around, they would generally feel much safer.”

Khan had earlier on Tuesday announced plans for a £3m “gangbusters” crackdown on high street crime – including proposals for street-based youth workers, “focused on those key after-school hours when young people are most likely to get caught up in crime in their local areas”.

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

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