Susan Hall and Sadiq Khan clash as battle for London mayoralty enters final 48 hours

Susan Hall and Sadiq Khan clash as battle for London mayoralty enters final 48 hours

Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall clashed on Tuesday as the battle to become the next Mayor of London entered its final 48 hours.

Supporters of Mr Khan took aim at his Tory rival’s reported belief that police misconduct should be dealt with “behind closed doors”, which they said would undermine efforts to tackle violence against women and girls.

Despite multiple opinion polls giving Mr Khan a commanding lead, Ms Hall said she “honestly” believed she was capable of pulling off a shock victory on Thursday, as the election would amount to a referendum on his eight “dreadful” years as mayor.

Prominent women’s safety campaigners criticised leaked comments from Ms Hall, first reported last month, in which she said that problems with sexism and misogyny in the Met were down to “wrong ’uns” and “if they’re doing something wrong, you take them into your office, you close the door”.

However a spokesman for Ms Hall hit back and said she had been “referring solely to his [Khan’s] handling of the former Commissioner's departure, not to police misconduct cases” when she said cases should be handled “behind closed doors”.

Vera Baird, the former Victims’ Commissioner of England and Wales, said: “I can’t overstate how undermined female victims of sexual and domestic abuse will feel by Susan Hall saying that she wants police misconduct to be kept out of public view ‘behind closed doors’. ”

Jamie Klingler, co-founder of Reclaim the Streets, said: “When we are desperately campaigning for additional accountability and reform to combat institutional racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism in the Met, the very last thing we need is a Mayor who talks about accountability taking place ‘behind closed doors’. ”

Charlotte Proudman, a barrister who has represented victims of rape and domestic abuse, said: “What would it have looked like if cases like [David] Carrick and [Wayne] Couzens were handled ‘behind closed doors’?”

Carrick committed multiple rapes while serving as a Met police officer. Couzens was a Met officer when he raped and murdered Sarah Everard.

The Tory candidate vowed to get the mayoralty “back to basics” by addressing the rise in violent crime and axing the Ulez expansion if elected.

Last summer she said she genuinely believed victory was possible. Asked yesterday if she still felt that to be the case, despite multiple polls giving Mr Khan a commanding lead, she said: “Yes, I do. I have just got a feeling that the really good people of London have had enough. They don’t feel safe.”

She accepted it would be a massive political shock if Mr Khan managed to lose the election — “or I manage to win it”. Unveiling a heritage Routemaster as her “battle bus”, she described herself as the “underdog” but still believed victory was possible.

“Yes I do, I really honestly do. I did say that [to the Standard] a year ago. I do believe it, and I have done everything I can to listen to Londoners, to make sure that what I promise is what Londoners want,” Ms Hall added.

“That’s why I have got confidence. I think people know things are not as they should be in London. As Mayor I would make sure the basics are put right first.”