Susan Hall tackles Sadiq Khan over ULEZ expansion
Pundits had anticipated a rout for the Conservatives in all three by-elections this week.
But when it came down to it, Rishi Sunak narrowly avoided becoming the first Prime Minister in half a century to lose three such votes in a single day.
With a margin so thin it prompted a recount, Tory candidate Steve Tuckwell bested Labour’s Danny Beales in Boris Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
The winner wasted no time in blaming Mr Khan’s “damaging and costly ULEZ policy” for his party’s loss. In just over a month’s time, the area of London in which polluting vehicles face an extra tax is set to expand massively.
Until now limited to the North and South Circulars, the new boundaries from August 29 would encompass all of the capital’s 32 boroughs and the near-totality of the constituency – and locals clearly aren’t happy about it.
READ MORE: There’s history of highway robbers in Uxbridge but Khan is the worst yet
In his victory speech, Mr Tuckwell said: “This wasn’t the campaign Labour expected, and Keir Starmer and his mayor Sadiq Khan need to sit up and listen to the Uxbridge and South Ruislip residents.”
The Opposition did not refute this assessment. Deputy Leader Angela Rayner acknowledged the role ULEZ played in Labour’s surprise defeat, telling BBC Breakfast: “People are really concerned about how, during a cost-of-living crisis, they’re going to be imposed with a ULEZ charge that they can’t afford.”
The brainchild of Mr Johnson back when he was mayor, this charge today consists of a £12.50 fee per day for vehicles that don’t meet modern emissions standards.
The pressure on Mr Khan has been ratcheting up throughout the day. Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed said: “I think those responsible for that policy will need to reflect on what the voters have said and whether there’s an opportunity to change.”
But what do YOU think? Should Sadiq Khan resign as Mayor of London because of ULEZ? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.
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