Children are dying!’: First London Mayor hustings halted after Sadiq Khan heckled over knife crime record
Event suspended for 20 minutes after mayor of London faced repeated protests from an audience member

The first London mayoral hustings had to be halted after Sadiq Khan faced repeated protests from an audience member over his record on tackling violent crime.
The event on Thursday night was suspended for about 20 minutes when Andreas Michli, an independent mayoral candidate, repeatedly shouted out the names of teenage knife crime victims, preventing Mr Khan from speaking.

Mr Michli, who was sat in the middle of the 200-strong audience with two supporters, eventually agreed to leave after multiple requests from the venue’s security staff.

He said he was protesting about “the absolute doo-doo coming out of his [Mr Khan’s] mouth” after the mayor said “austerity” was to blame for the rise in violent crime.
“Children are dying,” Mr Michli said. “The little man over there will continue to let teenagers die.”

Mr Khan clashed verbally with Tory rival Susan Hall after she criticised his decision to spend £140m a year providing free school meals for all London primary school children.

She said it was wrong for taxpayers to be providing free meals for “millionaires’ children” and said she would only continue universal free meals for a year if elected.

“There is no such thing as a free school meal,” she said. “People have to pay for it. We could have people on the breadline without children having to pay for food for people who may be millionaires’ children.”

Mr Khan said: “Susan acts like somebody who applies to be the headteacher of a school but hates kids, hates teachers, hates parents and has no qualifications.

“Susan, why do you want to be mayor of London? You talk our city down. Talk our city up. Be constructive. This is a great city.”
Ms Hall replied: “London is a great city and it needs a great mayor. I wouldn’t blame everyone else for everything that goes wrong.”

Mr Khan, referring to an incident last year when Ms Hall thought she had been pickpocketed on the Tube, only for her Oyster card to be found by a Good Samaritan, said: “They twist the truth and put out a press release implying that all Londoners are thieves.”

Ms Hall criticised Mr Khan for reverting to “personal attacks”. She said: “It makes you look really pathetic.”
The hustings, the first of the 2023 campaign to feature the four frontrunners – Mr Khan, Ms Hall, Green Zoe Garbett and Lib-Dem Rob Blackie, was hosted at the JW3 community centre in Hampstead by the London Jewish Forum.
Mr Khan said it was wrong to “demonise” young Londoners unable to get on the housing ladder for enjoying the occasional Starbucks coffee.

“If you have a Starbucks today, and an expensive coffee tomorrow, it’s not the reason you can’t get a home,” Mr Khan said. “It’s because successive governments have let down our city and supply is not meeting demand.”

Mr Khan said the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel was “the largest mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust [that] has inflicted a wound that may never heal”.
One of the largest cheers of the night was when he promised to extend the 210 bus route north from Finsbury Park to link Jewish communities in Stamford Hill and Golders Green.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Khan said: “Hundreds of people came along tonight to listen to the debate and one person tried to ruin it for everybody else.”

Evening Standard

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