Sir Keir Starmer is under pressure to order Labour mayor Sadiq Khan to halt the controversial expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez).
Cabinet ministers today told the Labour leader to ‘get off the fence’ and direct Mr Khan to abandon his planned extension of the scheme to all parts of the capital from next month.
It came after the London mayor this morning won a legal battle against five Tory-led local councils at the High Court.
Following the ruling, Mr Khan immediately vowed to push ahead with enforcing the £12.50-a-day charge for non-compliant vehicles in all Greater London boroughs from August 29.
This opened up fresh conflict with Sir Keir – who had told Mr Khan to ‘reflect’ on the plans in ‘frank’ talks following Labour’s defeat in last week’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, which was blamed on a local backlash against Ulez.
Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves had also told Mr Khan that now is ‘not the right time’ to ‘clobber people with extra charges’.
Senior Tories lined up to demand Sir Keir push the London mayor to shelve his Ulez plans.
Energy Secretary Grant Shapps posted on Twitter: ‘Labour will take this as a win, but hardworking people will lose because Sadiq Khan doesn’t care about hitting drivers with unneeded costs.
‘Let’s see what kind of leader Keir Starmer is. Time to get off the fence and tell your mayor to do the right thing and stop the Ulez expansion.’
Oliver Dowden, the Hertsmere MP and Deputy Prime Minister, said the High Court ruling was a ‘loss for hard-working people’ in his constituency, which borders Greater London.
‘It’s wrong that people are charged £12.50 every time they drive from Hertsmere to neighbouring London boroughs to visit the hospital, shops or restaurants,’ he said.
‘Keir Starmer should tell his mayor to abandon this unnecessary and unfair expansion.’