Sadiq Khan has linked Susan Hall, his Conservative challenger for London mayor, to Donald Trump, saying a victory for her could spark a run of victories in 2024 for the populist far-right.
Khan predicted that this wave of far-right populism could include Suella Braverman replacing Rishi Sunak as Conservative leader.
“This year will be a year of decision – there is every chance we could see Donald Trump in the White House, Suella Braverman in Number 10 and Susan Hall in London City Hall,” the Labor mayor said, intensifying his speech against a bill. opponent who supported Trump and liked tweets praising Enoch Powell.
While polls show Khan well behind Hall in the build-up to May’s vote, his team says the government’s decision to change the electoral system used for the mayoral vote – from supplementary voting to first-past-the-post one round – could give Hall a narrow victory.
Another complicating factor is the introduction of mandatory photo ID for voting. A new poll commissioned by the mayor’s office showed that while 74% of Londoners know the rules, this figure falls to 53% for younger voters and is also lower among some ethnic minority groups.
Khan said conservatives had changed the electoral system in “a deliberate effort to reduce turnout (which) could open the door to a far-right victory.”
He directly compared Hall to Trump, the expected Republican nominee in November’s U.S. presidential election, and to Geert Wilders, whose far-right anti-Islam Freedom Party won the most seats in the Dutch parliament in November .
“The mayoral election will probably be the first test of whether the far right can be reined in,” Khan said. “After Geert Wilders’ victory on our doorstep, we know that the far right poses a real threat to the European elections and that the prospects for a new Donald Trump presidency could be even worse than his disastrous first term.”
He added: “Here in London, one of the most diverse cities in the world, my Conservative opponent in May’s mayoral election is someone who has repeatedly promoted divisive and racist content on social media. social, while attacking women and the black community. »
Previous research by campaign group Hope Not Hate into the social media history of Hall, a London MP who has been a strong supporter of Trump and Liz Truss, showed that she had liked tweets making the praise of Enoch Powell, who became synonymous with racism in 2017. British politics after his “rivers of blood” speech in 1968 on immigration.
Hall also retweeted a message from far-right activist Katie Hopkins who called Khan “the nipple-high mayor of Londonistan”, adding: “Thank you Katie!” Londonistan is a common term for Islamophobic abuse, often used by the far right, to claim that London has been taken over by Muslims.
Regarding changes to the electoral system, Khan said the Conservative government had echoed steps taken by other right-wing governments by “moving the goalposts to maximize their chances of winning”. – making it as difficult as possible for would-be progressives to vote and win.”
Previous municipal elections were held under the supplementary vote system, in which voters could express a first and second choice, with their vote transferred to the latter if their initial choice was eliminated.
This often meant that many Liberal Democrat and Green votes were transferred to Labour, but the move to first past the post means that a split left vote could lead to Hall becoming mayor with a relatively small minority of support.
A Hall spokesperson: “Susan will not take a lecture on misogyny from Sadiq Khan, nor will Londoners be fooled by these desperate smear tactics after eight years of failure under his mayoralty . Londoners deserve much better in 2024, with less crime and an end to its unjust expansion on Ulez, and Susan is determined to make it happen.