Sadiq Khan’s much-hated ULEZ scheme expansion could be shelved after Uxbridge by-election nightmare as London mayor claims he is in ‘constructive listening mode’
The Mayor of London held private talks with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer
Sadiq Khan could be forced to scrap a planned extension of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) after Labor suffered a crushing blow in last week’s Uxbridge by-election.
The Mayor of London is now being asked by top party figures to rethink the much-hated scheme which has sparked protests from people living in areas where it is about to be launched.
Mr Khan, who previously said the ULEZ was the ‘right’ way to tackle pollution in the capital, has indicated he may revisit the policy and is in ‘constructive listening mode’.
It comes after party leader Sir Keir Starmer phoned the mayor and considered changing course after he was beaten by the Tories by 495 votes in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.
Labor was in pole position to flip the seat after the resignation of former prime minister Boris Johnson, but angry voters have expressed their views on the capital’s Labor mayor by re-electing a Conservative MP.
Protesters protested outside BBC Broadcasting House yesterday demanding an end to plans to expand the ULEZ scheme.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, pictured at a cafe in central London on Friday, said he was in ‘constructive listening mode’ about policy.
A Labor source told The Times that the mayor had promised to review the policy after discussions with Sir Kiir, adding: ‘It’s clear that Sadiq is going to review it.’
It would be a humiliating resignation for Mr Khan, who has been staunch in his defense of the plan and has previously said clean air is a ‘human right, not a privilege’.
His flagship policy – which would see a £12.50 daily charge extended to outer London for older, more polluting vehicles – came under fire from his party bosses just hours after the dust settled from a by-election in the capital’s north-west.
Sir Keir said: ‘We are doing something very wrong if Labor Party policies end up in every Tory leaflet.’
And the civil war, fueled by fears within the party that its green policies could cost it the next election, has exposed rifts over how to deal with its big-spending green policies.
Now some of Sir Keir’s top advisers, including his director of strategy Deborah Mattison, have claimed their predictions that ULEZ would lose the expansion vote have come true.
A party insider told The Times: ‘At the start of the campaign, there was a lot of talk about it [Ulez] being scrapped
‘Of course, this time last year, Deborah was among those who wanted to make the Labor logo green so I can understand why Sadiq was a little put off by her saying that.’
Steve Tuckwell delivers a speech after being elected Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip on Thursday
Anti-Eulage protesters called for a halt to the scheme’s expansion at a protest on Saturday
But opposition to the plan grew among Mr. Khan’s colleagues.
Mitcham and Morden MP Siovine McDonagh told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It can’t be right for a left-of-centre party to put all the responsibility on the shoulders of people who can’t afford it.’
One shadow cabinet minister yesterday warned Mr Khan that, ahead of next year’s mayoral election, ‘he doesn’t want every Labor MP in London running against him’.
Another added: ‘This policy is deeply unpopular. At Uxbridge, it was an albatross around our necks.’
Jubilant Tory MPs credited their wafer-thin 495-vote Uxbridge win with turning a 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’.
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