Sadiq Khan appeared to sympathise with Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall on Tuesday after she admitted she did not know the price of a London bus fare.
The Labour mayor said he did not think the “pub quiz questions” Ms Hall faced in an LBC interview on Monday were the best way of judging candidates, and that Londoners should instead focus on his opponent’s values.
Ms Hall, a London Assembly member since 2017, told presenter Nick Ferrari that she doesn’t take buses, so doesn’t know the price of using one. She was also unable to say who owns Hammersmith Bridge, or what the starting salary is for a police officer in the capital.
But when asked about the interview, Mr Khan suggested he had some sympathy with his opponent, saying: “I think these sort of pub quiz questions aren’t the best test to see who’s the best candidate to be mayor.
“What are their values? What are their past experiences? What’s their vision for our city? What do we know about the track record of their party nationally? All these are the sorts of issues that I’m hoping Londoners will look into.”
Asked whether he was surprised by Ms Hall’s inability to say how much a bus costs, the mayor said: “That’s not the reason why I think she’s out of touch with Londoners. I’ve had the chance to hear some of her views on a variety of issues.”
A bus costs £1.75 for an unlimited number of journeys started within the space of an hour. Ms Hall told Mr Ferrari that instead of buses she uses “trains all the time”. As a freedom pass user, Ms Hall is entitled to free bus, Tube and train travel after the morning rush hour each day and all weekend.
Mr Khan added that it would be either him or Ms Hall who wins the election on May 2, rather than one of the other 11 candidates who have declared they are running.
“Only two people can be the mayor – that’s the evidence from the last 24 years. The Tories either come first or second,” he said.
“I’m really proud to have frozen TfL fares [for] five of the last eight years, to have provided free school meals for the first time in the history of our city, building record numbers of genuinely affordable homes, investing in young people.
“The choice will be a greener, fairer, safer, more affordable London with me, or the Conservatives doing to London what they’ve done to the rest of the country.”
A spokesman for Ms Hall said: “Susan is focused resolutely on the issues that matter – getting a grip of crime and scrapping Sadiq Khan’s unfair Ulez expansion on day one.
“This is a two-horse race. A vote for any other candidate is a vote for another four years of failure under Sadiq Khan. Londoners deserve better and they can vote for it with Susan on 2 May.”