Tories delete ad attacking Sadiq Khan after using New York footage instead of London’s

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Mar 26, 2024 at 01:07 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Envision this: a panicked crowd racing through a train station that descends into destruction and chaos. This isn’t the first scene of an apocalyptic movie about the end of civilisation but an attack ad for the mayoral campaign of conservative politician Susan Hall. The message? That the current mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is too soft on crime. The only problem is that the footage is actually from a subway station in New York City, not London.

After the embarrassing mistake was uncovered, the Tories were quick to delete the campaign video, clearly aware that netizens had uncovered that the clip originated from New York’s Penn Station after false reports of gunfire in 2017.

The scenes from the station were shown in black and white and overlaid with a US narrator saying: “A 54 per cent increase in knife crime since the Labour mayor seized power has the metropolis teetering on the brink of chaos.”

X (formerly Twitter) quickly added a reader’s note under the now-deleted clip in which it clarified that Khan had not “seized power” but was democratically elected with a vote.

Political journalist Paul Waugh was one of the keen eyes that spotted that some of the video footage wasn’t shot in the UK. Waugh promptly took to X to draw attention to the blunder.

The ad was quickly replaced with a video where the controversial New York scenes had been removed.

Hall’s campaign is centred around promises to increase policing, scrap Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) on day one, and build more affordable homes for families.

As such, the politician has been trying to paint her opponent as lax on crime and out of touch with the needs of common Londoners. Moreover, Hall’s current campaign slogan is that Hall is “a mayor who listens.”

Yet, a lot of the Tory politician’s claims about the chaos and mayhem that are currently spreading in London have been described as inaccurate and fearmongering.

Indeed, a fact check from The Guardian last month, found that in London people are less likely to be victims of crime than across the country as a whole. In the capital, 14.9 per cent of people experienced a crime either to their person or their household in the year ending September 2023, compared with 15.7 per cent nationally.

Yet the attack video claimed: “Gripped by the tendrils of rising crime, London citizens stay inside. The streets are quiet,” raising doubts about Hall’s view of the metropolis.

“It’s true to form for the Tory campaign. It’s a deeply misleading attack intentionally talking down London, from a candidate who appears to have no love for the city she aspires to lead,” a source close to the incumbent mayor told PA Media, as reported by The Guardian.

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