Former Conservative chair blasts ‘gutter politics’ of Tory London mayoral candidate Susan Hall

Baroness Warsi said party must learn from its West Midlands mayor Andy Street on ‘how inclusive and decent politics can be done’

Zoe Grunewald
Friday 03 May 2024 08:15 BST
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Conservative London Mayor candidate Susan Hall casts vote in local election

A former Tory cabinet minister has accused the Conservative mayoral candidate for London of “gutter politics” following her controversial campaign.

Former Conservative party chair and peer Sayeeda Warsi criticised mayoral candidate Susan Hall, who has been acccused of divisive politics and Islamophobia.

Baroness Warsi - who served as Tory chair between 2010 and 2012 - said on X/Twitter: “Why is it that with every London Mayoral election we manage to find a candidate worse than the last and manage to sink that little bit more into gutter politics.

“Look @andy4wm [Tory West Midlands mayor Andy Street] and learn @Conservatives - how inclusive and decent politics can be done. Be more #Street and less #Susan.”

Mr Street’s mayorality is on a knife-edge as voters in the West Midlands went to the polls on Thursday.

With the results of key mayoral contests yet to be declared, one Tory MP told The Independent that a move against Mr Sunak is “likely” if either Mr Street or Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen lose their jobs.

Speaking on his Political Currency podcast, former chancellor George Osborne said: “If Andy Street loses in the West Midlands, that’s pretty bad ...[but] If Ben Houchen loses it will be armageddon – because at that point, people will say, ‘We are absolutely headed now for a massive landslide defeat’.”

Baroness Warsi has slammed the Tory candidate for London mayor
Baroness Warsi has slammed the Tory candidate for London mayor (PA Archive)

Though it is widely expected that incumbent Labour mayor for London Sadiq Khan will keep his seat, some are anticipating the vote to be tighter than previously thought.

Conservative officials think Ms Hall has a chance of beating Mr Khan, despite a controversial campaign filled with blunders and accusations of islamophobia and racism.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting provoked ire when he said that a win for Susan Hall and the Conservatives is “a win for racists, white supremacists and Islamophobes the world over.”

Mr Streeting was referencing a Ms Hall, joining a Facebook group which contained Islamophobic hate speech and abusive comments about her opponent.

Baroness Warsi has been a outspoken critic of the Conservative’s party’s approach to tackling Islamophobia, having previously compared it to being in an “abusive relationship”.

Her comments come as Rishi Sunak refused to say whether or not he would vote for Susan Hall in the mayoral election.

A Conservative Party spokesman insisted the prime minister “has voted”, but declined to say where he voted, at what time, or if he had done so in person or by post. A Labour source said told the Mirror: “Is the Conservative candidate so toxic that even their own leader doesn’t want to admit he voted for her?”

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