Sadiq Khan’s hated expansion of the ULEZ scheme could be shut down after the Uxbridge by-election nightmare as the London Mayor claims he is in “constructive listening mode”.
- The Mayor of London has held private talks with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer
Sadiq Khan could be forced to abandon his proposed extension of London’s ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) after he dealt a fatal blow to Labor in the Uxbridge by-election last week.
The Mayor of London is now being urged by party leaders to reconsider the hated proposal, which has sparked protests from people in the areas where it is to be introduced.
Mr Khan, who previously said ULEZ is the “right” way to deal with pollution in the capital, has hinted he may reconsider the policy and is in “constructive listening mode”.
This comes after party leader Sir Keir Starmer called the mayor and told him to consider changing course after he was beaten by the Tories by 495 votes in by-elections in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
Labor had been in pole position to turn the seat over after the resignation of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but angry voters voiced their opinion of the capital’s Labor mayor by re-electing a Conservative MP.
Protesters at a demonstration outside BBC Broadcasting House yesterday called for an end to plans to expand ULEZ programming
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured at a cafe in central London on Friday, said he was in “constructive listening mode” on politics
A Labor source told the Times the mayor has promised to review the policy after talks with Sir Keir, adding: “It is clear Sadiq will review it.”
It would be a humiliating resignation for Mr Khan, who has been adamant in defending the scheme and has previously said clean air is a “human right, not a privilege”.
His flagship policy – which sees the £12.50 daily charge for older, more polluting vehicles being extended to the outskirts of London – came under fire from his party bosses just hours after the dust settled around the by-election in the capital’s north-west.
Sir Keir said: “We are doing something very wrong if the Labor Party’s proposed guidelines end up on every single Tory leaflet.”
And the civil war sparked by fears within the party that its green policies could cost it in the next election has exposed divisions over how it is handling its pro-spending green policies.
Now some of Sir Keir’s top advisers, including his strategy director Deborah Mattison, have claimed their predictions that the ULEZ expansion would lose votes have come true.
A party insider told the Times: “It was talked about a lot early in the campaign.” [Ulez] is scrapped.
“Of course around this time last year Deborah was among those who wanted the Labor logo to go green, so I can understand why Sadiq is a little confused when she heard that from her.”
Steve Tuckwell delivers a speech after being elected Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip on Thursday
Anti-ULEZ protesters called for an end to the expansion of the program at a protest on Saturday
But opposition to the plans among Mr Khan’s colleagues has continued to mount.
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, told The Mail on Sunday: “It cannot be right for the left-of-centre party to put all the responsibility on the shoulders of those who can least afford it.”
Shadow Cabinet Minister Oone 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.”
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’.”