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The Conservative Party’s Campaign Against Sadiq Khan is Based on a ‘Barefaced Lie’ Which is Designed to Harvest Voters’ Data

Susan Hall is plastering London with leaflets falsely claiming voters are about to be hit by a new charge to drive their cars

Conservative Party London Mayoral Candidate Susan Hall alongside one of her leaflets. Photo: PA Images / Alamy

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The Conservative Party has been accused of running a campaign against Sadiq Khan which is based on a “barefaced lie” which will “panic” Londoners into handing over their personal data.

Londoners will go to the polls on May 2 to choose their next mayor. Polls suggest that the Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan is the strong favourite to win against a challenge from his Conservative rival Susan Hall.

However, Khan’s team fear that a “desperate” campaign by Hall, based on wrongly suggesting that Khan has committed to implement pay-per-mile road charging, could allow her to win the contest.

Proposals for pay-per-mile road charging have been discussed in the past by City Hall, including by Khan’s Conservative predecessor Boris Johnson. Rishi Sunak was also reportedly a previous supporter of such plans.

However, Khan has repeatedly ruled out bringing in pay-per-mile charging, saying again last month that he had “categorically” ruled out any such plans.

Despite these repeated denials, Hall’s campaign have sent out leaflets to Londoners which are designed to look exactly like driving penalty notices and which contain the text “DRIVING CHARGE NOTICE. DO NOT IGNORE. WARNING. THE MAYOR OF LONDON IS PLANNING ANOTHER TAX ON DRIVERS. IF YOUR’RE NOT PREPARED TO PAY THEN SCAN THE QR CODE BELOW”..

Anyone scanning the code will be taken to a website requesting they fill out a “petition” against the new “tax”, which then collects their data.

Hall’s opponents accused her of trying to “panic” Londoners into handing over their information.

“The Conservatives will panic people with this sort of leaflet – it really isn’t acceptable” the Liberal Democrat’s London Mayor candidate Rob Blackie said.

Khan’s campaign accused Hall of peddling a “barefaced lie” in a “desperate” bid to win votes.

“These leaflets peddle a barefaced lie” a London Labour spokesperson told Byline Times.

“The Tories are clearly desperate and have resorted to deliberately misleading Londoners. It is nothing more than scaremongering.

“Sadiq has repeatedly, categorically, ruled out pay-per-mile for as long as he is mayor. Londoners will not be duped by these Tory lies.”

Political campaigns are required to clearly label their campaign material to alert voters to their source.

However, Hall’s leaflets contain no reference to Susan Hall on the front of the leaflet, and only contain a single small print reference to Hall at the bottom of the reverse side.

The Conservative Party is not mentioned at all aside from a small print reference to ‘CCHQ’ which is an abbreviation for Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

The linked website does contain a small print reference to the Conservative Party. However, many Londoners receiving the leaflets are unlikely to realise the source of the supposed ‘Driving Charge Notice’ they have received.

A spokesperson for the Information Commissioners’ Office said, “We are aware of issues raised in relation to campaign leaflets and are considering those concerns.

“If a candidate or party asks you to complete a survey or petition, they should be clear how that data will be used in future.

“In many cases, it won’t be appropriate for the party or candidate to then repurpose that information for political campaigning.”

The Conservative Party’s Disinformation Machine

Sadiq Khan is the latest victim of a sustained campaign of misinformation and outright lies from the Conservative party

Independent fact checking organisation Full Fact said in a statement that they were “concerned” by Hall’s leaflets.

“We’re concerned about these leaflets from the Conservative Party that some of our supporters are receiving through their doors. Deceptive campaign practices can mislead the public during elections – and that’s not on.

“Every voter deserves good information. This is why we’re demanding improvements to the rules around the transparency of campaign materials…”

The leaflets are the latest in a series of misleading claims made by the Conservative Party’s campaign in London. Last month the party deleted a video wrongly claiming that London had become “a crime capital of the world” after it was revealed that it contained a video clip of a terror scare which took place in New York, rather than in London.

Multiple tweets sent out by Hall and the party on X have also been labeled with ‘community notes’ by users due to misleading claims they have made.

The Conservative party’s former Deputy Chair Lee Anderson was also suspended from the party in February after wrongly suggesting that Khan was in the control of Islamists who were his “mates”.

Byline Times contacted Susan Hall’s campaign to request an explanation, or justification, for the use of their “Driving Charge Notice” leaflets as well as their broader claims about Khan’s plans, but did not receive a response.

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