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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Would Conservative candidate Susan Hall make for a good London Mayor? We asked the people of Harrow

Susan Hall is representing the Conservative Party in the race to become London’s next Mayor

In order to understand Susan Hall better, The Asian Standard visited the area to ask the people that know her best – everyday people in Harrow.

Susan Hall has been a longstanding councillor for Hatch End in Harrow. She also served as the leader of the Conservative group on Harrow Council from September 2013 to May 2014.

In her last election, representing the conservative party, she received 30 per cent of the total votes cast in the Hatch End ward in the Harrow Borough.

Ms Hall’s chances in the election appear to be fair, and comparative with other major parties. The latest polls show Sadiq Khan leading by a small margin.

She has recently courted controversy though – there has been concern over Susan joining an online group ‘Bexley say no to the ULEZ expansion’

The group is part of a network of Facebook groups, some of which have been found to contain Islamophobic hate speech – although it is important to note that the hate speech was not from or engaged with by Susan Hall or any Conservative staff members.

Similar concerns have been raised further by controversial comments made over Sadiq Khan’s time as Mayor by Donald Trump.

Mr Sarfraz George runs the busy Hindes Hotel near the city centre. I asked him if he thought Susan Hall would make a good London Mayor:

“Definitely. I personally think we need a change, because of crime and I personally am tired of Sadiq Khan. We need a positive change.”

I went on to ask him what he thought of one of Ms Hall’s campaign slogans, “Londoners are being ignored”.

“I do agree with that. As a hotel manager, I have been running the hotel here for so long, so I know there are so many rough sleepers. People are struggling with social housing; these people are being ignored.”

The Asian Standard also talked to Haider Salam, Director of RCL Estates. He gave his opinion on Susan Hall:

“I have known people in Harrow and they say that she is doing a good job.

We are looking for someone who is strong and will do something on the issues facing London. Boris Johnson helped to make Uxbridge really nice. I hope Susan Hall can do something Similar.

She seems like she has a plan for London. I hope it is going to work.”

I aske Mr Salam what he feels those issues are:

“The first thing the new Mayor has to do is give more time and power to the police – to let them do their job.

We are facing high crime rates and are hoping a new Mayor will do something about it.”

Asked what he thought of the current Mayor, Sadiq Khan. “He has had two terms. I think we need a new face for London Mayor.”

Ahmed Warsame works in an Islamic clothing store situated next to Harrow central Mosque.

He gave his insight into Susan Hall:

“I definitely think we need a breath of fresh air and a change. I do know there is some controversy surrounding her.”

As a family man, I asked Mr Warsame about free school meals – which Sadiq Khan sees as vital but does not have the support of Susan Hall.

“A lot of families are struggling with the cost of living, and I think that is a real burden off their backs.”

Ms Hall is also promising to provide more affordable housing in London, in the face of spiralling rents, which can hit families in multi – generational households hard.

“I think that the cost of housing has gone up exponentially, especially in the last four years, post covid. So, I think that should be a top priority not just for Susan Hall but for anyone going for Mayor of London.”

Susan Hall promises to, “get a grip on crime in London, providing better funding for the police and more numbers on the street. I asked Mr Warsame for his opinion on this:

“The presence of Police definitely deters crime. Having more police on the streets will not only deter crime but it also reassures ordinary citizens that they are doing their job.”

He also gave his opinion on the controversial Ultra Low Emissions zone policy:

“I feel that they are aimed at the ordinary person too much, when instead they should focus on the big corporations who are the biggest polluters.”

Karan Desai works in an office in a high street in Harrow. I asked his opinion on Susan Hall – would she make for a good London Mayor?

“No. In her time in Harrow, nothing has been done while we see taxes have gone up, from the Council nothing has been done. Businesses have received no help.”

Simran Deol helps run a local beautician and is also a teacher. I asked her about Susan Hall’s belief that Londoners are being ignored:

“Yes 100%. I do agree with that. I think there is under representation on things such as knife crime. There has been a huge increase in violence in this area. There is gang violence, people don’t feel safe in our communities anymore.”

As an experienced teacher, I asked her opinion of the issue of youth crime. Would Susan Halls promise to boost policing be the answer?

“It would help to an extent, but you need to get to the root of the problem. Why is knife crime happening? What are schools doing regarding opportunities? We need to look deeper into the issues, not just chuck more police on the streets.”

Overall, it is clear that many people in Harrow want change in London, and a new face for London Mayor. It remains to be seen if this is reflected in the election.



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