Susan Hall promised to be the first “female Labour mayor” of London in a slip of the tongue at the Conservative Party Conference.
The Tory candidate gave an upbeat speech about her chances of defeating Sadiq Khan in next year’s election, but ended her remarks with a gaffe.
She said: “In 213 days’ time, (Khan) can do whatever he likes, because I will be sitting at my desk in City Hall as your first female Labour – not, not Labour, never Labour – your first, female, London mayor.”
Polling suggests Ms Hall is only narrowly behind Mr Khan, and Conservatives in City Hall are optimistic about their chances when the election comes in May.
Ms Hall used her speech at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event to promise that she would scrap the expansion of London’s ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) and “get to grips with crime” on day one if she won the election.
She said Mr Khan “doesn’t care” about crime, promising to put £200 million into policing and saying: “We have got to get more bobbies on the beat.”
The Harrow councillor accused the mayor of failing on housing and nightlife, and claimed low traffic neighbourhoods were causing “nothing but a backlog of traffic”.
She also backed building more homes in London, saying this would reduce rents for young people.
Ms Hall said: “We have absolutely got to build more homes and we have got to build more family homes, even if they are high-density, low-rise, as long as they are beautiful homes.”
The Tory candidate has been a controversial choice since her selection in July, most recently saying she “didn’t intend to cause offence” by liking a string of tweets including Islamophobic abuse of Mr Khan and images of former Conservative politician Enoch Powell, best known for his infamous “rivers of blood” immigration speech that was widely blamed for heightening racial tensions in the 1960s.
She said: “If you’re a serial tweeter, you tend to go through liking all sorts of things.
“If anybody is offended, then obviously I would apologise.”
Any offence “wasn’t intended”, she insisted, saying she was “of course not” a fan of Powell.