Sadiq Khan grilled on popularity of ULEZ scheme
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Sadiq Khan is facing growing pressure over his massive expansion of the controversial ultra low emission zone (Ulez). A Tory MP said “the penny is dropping” over “how out of touch” the London Mayor is after a group of four London Labour MPs today broke cover to raise concerns about moving the boundary to cover the whole of the capital from August 29.
Drivers of vehicles who do not meet minimum emissions standards are charged a £12.50 daily fee for entering the zone, which is currently limited to the area within the North and South Circular roads, in a bid to boost London’s air quality.
Mr Khan came under criticism from his own side today as a group of Labour MPs representing London constituencies spoke out about fears over the economic impact of the huge expansion.
Sir Bob Neill, the Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, said the intervention shows Labour MPs are “starting to feel the heat”.
The former minister told MailOnline: “I think the penny is dropping how out of touch he is with outer London seats.
“I think they are starting to feel the heat. It’s a sign that the message is getting through even to Labour MPs: this is just an attack on outer London.”
Sir Bob said Mr Khan’s policies were focused on people who work from home or can afford to take a taxi.
He added: “What works in outer London is completely different from what works in inner London. And even in inner London there are a lot of people who are not well-heeled, they need to get about to do jobs quite often at anti-social hours.
“We had a daft suggestion from one Labour person that workmen could take their tools on the Tube.
“If you’re doing building jobs it is ridiculous. This is all the stuff of people who have never done those sort of jobs in their lives.”
Louie French, the Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, tweeted: “Be in no doubt, public outrage and people power is now forcing Labour MPs to come out against Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ tax raid on drivers in outer London.”
Meanwhile, the Tory leader of Bromley Council, Colin Smith, urged people to contact Labour MPs and councillors over the Ulez expansion.
He told Nigel Farage’s GB News show: “They are under pressure and they are cracking. The more pressure we can apply, the greater the chance of Khan changing his mind.”
It comes after Labour MPs in outer London earlier blasted plans to widen the Ulez.
Speaking to LBC, Labour’s Abena Oppong-Asare said: “My concern is we don’t want to be in a situation where people are going to be worse off.”
Seema Malhotra, Labour’s Shadow Business and Consumers Minister, added: “Whilst I share the goal of reducing pollution and increasing air quality, I am very concerned about the economic impact the current roll-out plans will have on residents and small businesses’.
Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Barking and Dagenham, said he was “deeply disappointed”, adding that “the representations I made on behalf of my constituents fell on deaf ears”.
Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonagh, also expressed opposition to the Ulez expansion.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer last month backed Mr Khan’s controversial decision to increase the zone.
The London Mayor’s office has been contacted for comment.
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