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Latest Conservative Misinformation Warning as Anti-Sadiq Khan Camp Accused of ‘Gutter Politics’ Over Murder Stats

Tottenham Tories have falsely claimed the murder rate in London is higher than New York.

PM Rishi Sunak is greeted by London Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall at an event. Photo: Associated Press / Alamy

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A local Conservative association has been accused of “gutter politics” after falsely claiming that the murder rate was higher in London than in New York ahead of this May’s London mayoral election. 

The Tottenham Conservative Association put out a graphic on social media claiming the “London murder rate [is] higher than New York”, with a picture of Labour mayor Sadiq Khan.

The post, which approvingly included an image of disgraced Tory ex-PM and mayor Boris Johnson, claimed: “Knife crime in London is rising at its fastest rate in five years, with more than 40 incidents reported to the police every day. Gang warfare, street robbery & gun crime are all on the rise as well. End the Khan Crime Wave; #VoteConservative in May 2024.” 

Twitter/X readers added a ‘Community Note’ providing important context: “London’s murder rate in 2023 was MUCH lower than New York’s. London’s 2023 murder rate was 12.7 per million. New York’s 2023 murder rate was 44.9 (8.46 million people with 380 murders).” The misleading post remains live as of lunchtime Wednesday (3 January).

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Gavin Hales, a senior criminology research fellow at London Metropolitan University and senior associate fellow at the Police Foundation replied simply: “You’re making stuff up.”

He added verified sources, noting: “London murder rate higher than New York”? London 2023: 104 murders, population c. 8.8m = 12 per million. NYC 2023: 380 murders, pop 8.3m = 45.6 [per million people]”.  

One reader replied: “I promise I will vote Tory in the mayoral and general elections this year if you can back up that statement about murder rates in London vs NYC with reliable data. If you cannot do so then you just have to apologise.”

Another added: “Imagine using the disgraced former PM as an advert for anything…who [wasted] £55 million of taxpayers cash on a garden bridge.” A garden bridge which never materialised. 

Other branded crime rises as a result of national Conservative austerity: “It is a Tory crime wave caused by enormous Tory cuts,” wrote activist MartinRemains. 

It follows a now-deleted post from Tottenham Conservatives last November showing Keir Starmer with speech bubbles saying: “Greece: here are the marbles. Argentina: here are the Falklands. Rotherham: here are our children” – referring to the sex abuse ring in the Yorkshire town operating in the early 2000s.

Rob Blackie, Lib Dem London mayoral candidate, told Byline Times: “London’s Conservatives are getting weirder and weirder. 

“The Conservatives are more interested in dividing London than uniting it, chasing headlines rather than providing serious solutions. Their Mayoral candidate likes Brexit, Trump and tweets that praise far right Enoch Powell. And the Tottenham Conservatives appear to have completely lost the plot.

“We need a Mayoral election that holds Sadiq Khan to account without descending into the gutter. I am determined to provide that choice.” 

Early Signs Show Sadiq Khan’s Expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone is Working – and the Culture Warriors Have Gone Quiet

It was meant to be a disaster, but the doomsayers appear to be in retreat.

Lib Dem campaigner Justin Hinchcliffe branded the Rotherham post “appalling politics.” 

A source close to Sadiq Khan accepted there is a problem with youth violence in London, and elsewhere, but said “real progress” has been made on homicides.

They noted that the 104 homicides in 2023 is the lowest number for any year since Khan took office. There were 109 homicides in the full calendar year 2022, 153 in 2019 and 117 in 2016.

Homicides committed using a knife or other sharp instrument (68) and homicides committed using a firearm (8) are both lower than any year since 2016. Burglary is down 19 per cent and overall gun crime down 20 per cent since Sadiq became Mayor, the source added. 

Overall, the rate of violence against the person offences per 1,000 of the population is lower in London (27.74) than the average across England and Wales (35.26) and considerably lower than most similar forces nationally (51.89) according to the latest ONS crime stats for the twelve months to June 2023.

The affair follows Rishi Sunak coming under fire this Tuesday (2nd January) for falsely claiming the Government had “cleared” the “asylum backlog” of 112,000 long-standing unresolved claims. In fact, 4,500 historic “complex cases” continue to lack a decision, while the number of current asylum claims that are unresolved sits at nearly 100,000. 

Conservative London Mayoral Candidate Susan Hall Backs Fringe Right Wing ‘Restore Trust’ that Challenges Criticism of Empire

The endorsement thrusts her campaign into the centre of a debate about empire in what is a proudly multicultural city

 Embarrassingly, Sunak’s X post was publicly corrected with a note stating the backlog remains, accompanied by a BBC report link disproving his claim. 

Refugee law specialist Daniel Sohege wrote: “Government’s claims about “clearing the backlog” aren’t just “misleading”, they’re an outright lie. They’re so busy chasing headlines they are putting vulnerable people at even more risk, and gearing up for countless legal battles.”

Even Spectator editor Fraser Nelson branded it a “false claim”. 

In December, Tory MP and former Anti-Corruption Champion John Penrose told PoliticsHome it will be a “huge challenge” to tackle election misinformation this year, adding: “If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, then this is an arms race”.  

Tottenham Conservatives and CCHQ have been contacted for comment.

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