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Susan Hall plays nice and stays quiet about Conservatives in new video

Susan Hall's new mayoral campaign  (Susan Hall)
Susan Hall's new mayoral campaign (Susan Hall)

Londoner’s Diary

Conservative candidate Susan Hall’s campaign for the London mayoralty got a bit of a soft relaunch yesterday following weeks of dire polling (the Evening Standard’s last poll put her 24 points behind Sadiq Khan).

Hall’s “Safer with Susan” slogan hasn’t had much cut-through with Londoners and her name recognition remains low. Cue a new slogan, test run yesterday in a slick video, that touts her as “a mayor who listens”. In the video, the former hairdresser from Harrow coos over a newborn baby and chats to members of the public in a park. “What I really want to do is to help Londoners,” she vows.

All very softly, softly, and it’s hard to guess from the rebrand, using an orange colour scheme rather than Tory blue, what party Hall is standing for. Though she has been written off by some as a no-hoper, Sadiq Khan’s team are privately worried she could sneak a shock win. We have always thought Hall missed a trick by dropping the original slogan her campaign team thought up when she first emerged as a candidate: Hall’s got balls.

Police at the Garrick

Trudie Styler and Sting (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Trudie Styler and Sting (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The Garrick private members’ club hasn’t been so private since a membership list was splashed across the papers last week. But some club figures got off without a mention. We notice its most glamorous member, Sting, escaped scrutiny. The former Police frontman only joined in 2023, fast-tracked through as a “distinguished member”. And despite the men-only rules that have caused such a fuss, he is rarely seen in the club without his wife Trudie Styler, whom he insists on bringing in as a guest. At the Garrick, she’s a legal alien.

The view from across the pond

When the Tories thought things couldn’t get worse, a prestigious US magazine drops a 10,000-word evisceration of their 14 years in office. In an article from The New Yorker, frankly the only Conde Nast title that people seem to like anymore, journalist Sam Knight argues that “the country has suffered” and “a single party has been responsible”. Interviewees include George Osborne and Dominic Cummings. But a notable figure rebuffed Knight’s interview requests: Boris Johnson. He’s not keen to engage with US media, recently telling talk show host Tucker Carlson he would only talk for a $1 million fee (intended for Ukrainian charities).

Jones leaves the Farm

The fallout continues after Left-wing columnist Owen Jones quit Labour last week (he says he cannot support Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership). The move has drawn groans from detractors, including Guardian colleagues, some of whom dredged up an old nickname for him from the Jeremy Corbyn years: “Squealer”. It’s a reference to the propagandising pig in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. While the playground insult may have had currency when Jones was supporting Corbyn, it doesn’t make much sense now Jones has jumped ship. They need to get creative.

Red Queen

Labour is attempting to stir another row with a Tory donor, this time regarding the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner. The party has been banging the drum against Lord Ashcroft, who has written a biography of Rayner titled Red Queen?, for having an “unhealthy interest” in the politician and characterised his book as "desperate recycling of old gossip”. The book is an unauthorised biography of Rayner. He has described it as “independent, open-minded and even-handed, letting the facts speak for themselves.” It includes revelations about Rayner’s finances, for example that she made a £48,500 profit from the sale of a Stockport council house, that have been making headlines for weeks. Ashcroft’s previous books include Call Me Dave, an unauthorised biography of David Cameron, which alleged that the then prime minister had participated in a society initiation ritual at university involving sexual contact with a dead pig. Cameron denounced the story as “false and ludicrous”.