'He's more interested in banning pizza ads': Truss and Sunak take aim at Sadiq Khan over 'appalling' London crime

31 August 2022, 20:00 | Updated: 31 August 2022, 22:04

Liz Truss: Sadiq Khan is anti everything

By Daisy Stephens

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have both launched blistering attacks on Sadiq Khan, accusing him of not taking enough action to tackle crime in 'lawless' London.

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The Tory leadership contenders faced one another in the final Tory leadership hustings, hosted by LBC.

Rishi Sunak said the Mayor of London needed to be 'squarely held to account' when it comes to tackling crime, whilst Liz Truss said the capital was being "let down" by Mr Khan.

"The first thing we need to do is squarely hold to account the failings of Sadiq Khan," said Mr Sunak, when Nick Ferrari asked about crime levels.

"Because on his watch, if you look at the record - there’s nothing inevitable about this - if you look at the record of the previous administration of one Boris Johnson… I think the murder rate halved."

He went on: "He's more interested in banning pizza advertising... and what he should be doing is actually getting the police to fight crime."

Final Tory leadership hustings: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss join Nick Ferrari | Watch again

Ms Truss said "appalling crimes" had been committed during Mr Khan's mayorship, and the capital needed a leader who is "tough on crime".

"I do think Sadiq Khan has not done enough to combat crime in London and we have seen appalling crimes perpetrated, we've seen too much focus by the police on issues that don't concern the public, and I want our police to spend their time policing our streets," she said.

"If you remember, Nick, when the current Prime Minister was Mayor of London, he did a very good job of tackling crime.

"So we need a Mayor of London who is actually prepared to be tough on crime and I'm afraid we don't have that in Sadiq Khan."

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said: “The Tory leadership candidates don’t seem to have noticed that despite years of Tory austerity, violent crime in the capital has fallen on Sadiq’s watch, bucking the national trend. Rather than directing wild attacks at Sadiq, they should be recognising the progress made in London.”

The spokesperson accused Ms Truss of "making wild accusations about Sadiq" while having "nothing to say on how she would help ordinary families who are desperately worried during this cost of living crisis".

The spokesperson added violent crime had fallen on Mr Khan's watch and said: "Sadiq makes no apologies for being anti-climate change, anti-poverty and anti-homelessness - but unlike the Conservative Party, he is pro-London."

Rishi Sunak slams Sadiq Khan

Ms Truss appeared to attack Mr Khan on almost every crime-related question, even putting blame on the London mayor for the recent spate of violence in Liverpool.

In her opening speech Ms Truss also accused Mr Khan of being "anti-everything" and said the country could not "succeed... without a successful London".

"We are not going to succeed as a country without a successful London," she told the crowd.

"This is the greatest city on Earth.

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"And in order to level up the United Kingdom, we need a successful London.

"But the reality is London is being let down by Sadiq Khan.

"Sadiq Khan is anti-everything - he's anti-car, he's anti-business, he's anti-opportunity and he is holding London back.

"And I don't believe those people who say London is a Labour city.

"No, it is not.

"London is a city where people want opportunities and they want to get on in life, and that's what we can deliver and we can make London Conservative again."

She went on: "I'll also work to stop the anti-growth madness of Sadiq Khan, legislating to make sure essential train services are provided and they can't be disrupted by militant trade unions, but also tackling crime in our capital."

'Anti-growth madness of Sadiq Khan'

She went on: "I'll also work to stop the anti-growth madness of Sadiq Khan, legislating to make sure essential train services are provided and they can't be disrupted by militant trade unions, but also tackling crime in our capital.

"We have seen crime go up.

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"We have seen some appalling crimes committed.

"I'm afraid that too often women and girls in London are not able to go out for fear of crime and I think that is wrong.

"And I will make sure our police are policing the streets and not policing Twitter."

Liz Truss speaks about Boris Johnson

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said: "While Liz Truss spent most of the final hustings making wild accusations about Sadiq, she had nothing to say on how she would help ordinary families who are desperately worried during this cost of living crisis or how she would increase funding for our public services, such as the police.

"Despite years of Tory austerity, violent crime in the capital has fallen on Sadiq’s watch, bucking the national trend.

"Sadiq makes no apologies for being anti-climate change, anti-poverty and anti-homelessness - but unlike the Conservative Party, he is pro-London."

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