London Mayor Sadiq Khan has apparently softened his stance on the controversial Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) scheme, which contributed to Labour’s recent Uxbridge by-election defeat. Khan’s previous staunch support for the anti-pollution tax has given way to a “constructive listening mode” after private discussions with Labour leader, Keir Starmer. The Sunday Times has the story.
Starmer and his shadow cabinet blame the Ulez for their failure to win Boris Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge & South Ruislip in northwest London on Thursday.
The leader called Khan on the day of the defeat to urge him to fall into line. Aides for both men said the talks were “positive” and “constructive”.
Allies of Starmer claim Khan has now promised to review the policy in what would amount to a significant U-turn. A senior Labour source said: “It’s clear Sadiq is going to be reviewing it.”
Khan and Starmer are exploring how to limit the financial impact of the policy on drivers while cleaning up the capital’s pollution problem, according to sources. In a sign of the growing pressure on the mayor, yesterday he deleted a tweet about “bold action” being required to protect the environment.
The Ulez is due to expand at the end of August from the boundary of the north and south circular roads to throughout Greater London, requiring drivers of the most polluting vehicles to pay £12.50 a day in the midst of soaring inflation and a cost of living crisis.