Sadiq Khan is under pressure for ULEZ after Keir Starmer admits driver tax was key to shock Tory wins at Uxbridge and South Ruislip
- The former seat of Boris Johnson, narrowly held by the Tories last week
Labor unrest escalated yesterday over Sadiq Khan’s ‘tax on drivers’ after Sir Keir Starmer admitted it was a gift to Tory activists following the shock result of last week’s Uxbridge by-election.
In a public display of his anger at London’s Labor Mayor’s unpopular plans to extend his ultra-low-emission zone (ULEZ), Sir Keir said: “We are doing something very wrong if the Labor Party’s proposed guidelines end up in every single Tory leaflet.”
The outspoken statement before the Labor Party’s National Policy Forum came after last week’s by-election in Boris Johnson’s former seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, narrowly held by the Tories after turning the contest into a referendum on the unpopular ULEZ.
And last night Mr Khan faced increasing pressure from across the political divide to delay a plan to extend the £12.50 daily charge to older, more polluting vehicles across London.
Labor unrest over Sadiq Khan’s ‘tax on drivers’ deepened yesterday after Sir Keir Starmer admitted it was a gift to Tory activists following the shock result of last week’s Uxbridge by-election
The seat was narrowly held by the Tories after turning the contest into a referendum on the unpopular ULEZ
Steve Tuckwell, newly elected Tory MP for Uxbridge, joined Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall in calling for a halt to plans to extend the ULEZ from 29 August.
And the Tories’ demands have been backed by London Labor MPs who fear the extension would hit the poorest hardest.
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, told The Mail on Sunday: “It cannot be right that the left-of-centre party is putting all the responsibility on the shoulders of the people who can least afford it.” And yesterday Sir Keir, who admitted “ULEZ was the reason we lost the Uxbridge election,” said he had spoken to the mayor and added that there would now be “a reflection” on ULEZ and the by-election.
Last night Mr Khan’s office declined to say if he was considering postponing the extension of the programme. But in a statement following a “constructive” private discussion with Sir Keir, the mayor’s office said: “Sadiq has made it clear that he is listening to Londoners after this by-election.” “The mayor is always looking for ways in which he can address their concerns.”
The Tories were elated last week after the surprise win in Uxbridge avoided three by-election defeats as Labor overcame huge majorities of over 20,000 votes in Selby and Ainsty, while the Liberal Democrats took similar Tory leadership in Somerton and Frome.
The Tories were delighted last week after a surprise win in Uxbridge avoided three by-election defeats
Cheering Tory MPs attributed their razor-thin victory in Uxbridge by 495 votes to turning the by-election into a referendum on ULEZ.
A Tory source said: “Our campaign was basically ‘Vote for us and Starmer will tell Khan to stop ULEZ’.”
Last night Mr Tuckwell and Ms Hall urged Mr Khan to respect the “clear message” from west London voters “that Labour’s ULEZ expansion must be stopped”.
Mr Khan has insisted the extension of the ULEZ is necessary to clean up London’s air and “save the lives of vulnerable Londoners”.
But a shadow cabinet minister yesterday warned Mr Khan that he “doesn’t want to have every London Labor MP and candidate against him” ahead of next year’s mayoral election. Another added: “This policy is deeply unpopular.” “It was an albatross around our necks in Uxbridge.”