Rishi Sunak backs Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall who liked 'race hate' politician tweet

  • Tap above to watch Simon Harris's interview with Rishi Sunak

The Tory candidate for London mayor who liked a tweet about 'race hate' politician Enoch Powell has been backed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Susan Hall, a member of the London Assembly, liked a social post media showing Powell with the words: 'It's never too late to get London back'. She also retweeted a message describing Sadiq Khan as the 'nipple height mayor of Londonistan'. Ms Hall told LBC: "If anybody is offended, then obviously I would apologise." Powell was a Conservative MP who caused outrage in 1968 with his 'rivers of blood' speech warning against immigration. He was accused of stirring racial hatred.

Enoch Powell Credit: PA

In an interview with ITV News, Mr Sunak offered Ms Hall his support, calling her 'the right choice'. The prime minister said: "I think Susan Hall will be a fantastic mayor for London. I think everyone can see that Sadiq Khan's track record is one that hasn't delivered." Mr Sunak also attempted to play down the decision to deny Ms Hall a prized speaking slot in next week's Conservative conference. All previous Tory mayoral candidates have been given star billing at the annual gathering of party members. The speech to the Autumn conference ahead of the Spring election is seen as a curtain raiser for the candidate's campaign.

But Mr Sunak said: "It's not about speaking at this conference or that conference. It's about saying we're going to put more police officers on the streets. We're going to give them the powers that they need to take knives off the streets.

"We're going to lock criminals up for life because that's what the most heinous criminals deserve. It's about building houses in the right place which Sadiq Khan has spectacularly failed to do, year after year after year.

"And it's about not imposing £12.50 on ordinary families who are just trying to go about their day to day lives. Those are all very practical things that Susan will deliver which is why she is the right choice for London." Ms Hall was a surprise choice as Conservative candidate after Minister for London Paul Scully was excluded from the shortlist and another contender was forced to step down following allegations about his past behaviour.

A spokesperson for Susan Hall's campaign said: "Susan engages with many people on Twitter without endorsing their views.

"Londoners want a Mayor who listens to people and deals with the bread-and-butter issues that matter to them - making our streets safer and putting more money back in people's pockets.

"As Mayor, Susan will deliver that."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...