Tories secure by-election win after fury at Labour congestion charge plans

Congestion charge: Caller criticises 'money-making scheme'

The Conservative Party has secured a landmark by-election win in Cambridge, as a result of mounting fury over opposition plans for expanded congestion charge.

Mohamed Delowar Hossain was elected to Cambridge City Council this week, the first Conservative seat on the council since 2012.

This comes amid growing fury over proposals for a sustainable travel zone (STZ), which would cover almost all of the city.

The scheme would see car users pay a daily charge of £5 if they drive within the STZ between 7.00am and 7.00pm on weekdays, while van drivers would pay £10 and HGV drivers £50.

Mr Delowar Hossain has said he will fight alongside Chris Carter-Chapman – the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for South Cambs – and Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire to ensure that the “damaging congestion charge is scrapped”.

The by-election was called after Labour’s ex-deputy leader, Alex Collis resigned, saying the Labour Party “doesn’t reflect my values any more”. 

Mr Carter-Chapman accused Labour and the Lib Dems of “repeatedly refusing” to listen to concerns from across the community.

He described the plan for an STZ as “flawed”, claiming it would cause “irreparable harm”.

In a statement, the parliamentary candidate said: “Yet again, the residents of Cambridgeshire have rejected the campaign against motorists in the form of congestion charge proposals for Cambridge City.

“Labour and the Liberal Democrats have repeatedly refused to listen to concerns from communities across the county and, rightfully, they have paid the price at the ballot box on Tuesday evening.

“We have called for a referendum on the Congestion Charge and were denied one, despite the Lib Dems saying this needs to happen for a similar scheme in Cardiff whilst refusing us one here.

“However we got our referendum in the form of yesterday’s vote, and the result is clear – we say no to road charging in Cambridge.

“If this flawed policy were to go through, it would cause irreparable harm to the local business community and make day-to-day life much more difficult for many people.

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“It will hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest and is the very definition of a regressive tax.”

He added: “In the by-elections in which we have stood on our opposition to the Congestion Charge over the last twelve months, we have seen dramatic swings towards us in Longstanton, Cottenham and now King’s Hedges.

“Residents have had enough of being ignored by Labour and the Lib Dems, their voice was certainly heard last night.”

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been contacted for comment. 

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