Ministers' 'concerned about telling Sadiq Khan things in confidence because he leaks to the press', Susan Hall claims

22 January 2024, 09:56 | Updated: 22 January 2024, 12:04

Sadiq Khan has briefed confidential information to the press, Susan Hall has claimed
Sadiq Khan has briefed confidential information to the press, Susan Hall has claimed. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Sadiq Khan's relationship with the government has suffered because he leaks confidential information to the media, Susan Hall has suggested.

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The Conservative mayoral hopeful told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that ministers have been "very concerned" about discussing confidential issues with the Labour incumbent.

Ms Hall said that "the behaviour of the mayor has been wrong", without elaborating on specific incidents. A spokesperson for Mr Khan said he had a good relationship with the government, but "makes no apology for standing up for Londoners".

Mr Khan, who has been in City Hall since 2016, has often been at loggerheads with the national government, which has been Conservative throughout his time in power.

Ms Hall was responding to a question about whether London would function better if City Hall was held by the same party as Downing Street, with Labour expected by many to win the next national poll.

Susan Hall accuses Sadiq Khan of 'depriving vital services of money' so he can 'buy votes'

She told the caller: "You’re making an assumption that Labour will win the next general election. Lots of people make an incorrect assumption that Sadiq Khan will win the London election."

She said: "I tell you I’m out knocking on doors the whole time, people are sick to death of Sadiq Khan. I can work with anybody. Whichever government is in place, I will work with them."

Ms Hall said: "The problem with Sadiq Khan is that whenever he has... confidential meetings" with the government "he then goes out and briefs the press", meaning that "the government has been very concerned about telling him various things."

She added: "When you’re told things in confidence, you keep things in confidence. So it’s more in my view the behaviour of the mayor has been wrong."

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: "Sadiq has a good working relationship with Government but makes no apology for standing up for Londoners in the face of 13 years of austerity and cuts to vital public services including the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London.

"Whether it is delivering free school meals for all state primary school children, building a record number of council homes, being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime or making public transport more affordable by freezing TfL fares, he will continue to do everything he can to deliver for the capital and build a better London for everyone."

London mayoral candidate Susan Hall
London mayoral candidate Susan Hall. Picture: Alamy

Ms Hall will face off against Mr Khan in the London mayoral elections in May, three years after the last time the capital's voters went to the polls. London mayoral elections are usually held every four years, but the last vote was delayed a year by Covid-19.

Mr Khan is favourite to extend his stay in City Hall by another four years.

On Monday's appearance on LBC, Ms Hall also accused Mr Khan of underfunding vital services to enable him to fund spending during election year.

The mayor recently froze London Tube and bus fares until 2025.

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan. Picture: Alamy

The freeze will apply to pay-as-you-go fares for bus, Tube, DLR and tram journeys, and the majority of those fares for London Overground and Elizabeth line trips.

Mr Khan said this will be paid for by allocating £123 million of Greater London Authority funding.

Ms Hall said: "He's spent seven years saying he's got no money, that he's underfunded. And yet, suddenly he's got money to do a fare freeze. Oh, guess why? There's an election coming."

She added: "For the last seven years, he's been depriving various vital services of money, and I would suggest definitely the police, in order that he can have a bumper year now, just before an election, and buy the votes quite frankly."

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