'Disgraceful' Sadiq Khan is slammed for 'smearing' ULEZ critics
‘So your working-class builder who’s worried about spending £60-a-week on ULEZ is now an extremist?’: Fury as ‘disgraceful’ Sadiq Khan is slammed for ‘smearing’ critics of his war on London’s motorists as ‘far Right’ and ‘Covid deniers’
- The London Mayor was taking part in a People’s Question Time session in Ealing
- Tensions have run high over plans to charge £12.50 for driving polluting vehicles
Furious drivers slammed ‘disgraceful’ Sadiq Khan today after he branded some Ulez opponents ‘far-Right’ and ‘Covid deniers’.
The London mayor was holding a People’s Question Time in Ealing, west London last night, when the extraordinary confrontation developed.
Tensions have been running high for months over the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone – where £12.50 is charged for driving polluting vehicles – which is due to cover all London boroughs from August.
During the bad-tempered session, Mr Khan said: ‘Some of you have got good reasons to oppose Ulez, but you are in coalition with Covid deniers… you may not like it… you are in coalition with the far-Right. And you are in coalition with vaccine deniers as well.’
Drivers then took to social media in their droves today to blast the Mayor’s ‘outrageous’ comments.
London mayor Sadiq Khan was holding a People’s Question Time in Ealing when the extraordinary confrontation developed
Commentator Sophie Corcoran said: ‘Sadiq Khan labels people who disagree with his ULEZ expansion far-right. So your working class builder – your traditional Labour voter – who is currently struggling to pay for their heating – being concerned about having to now fork out an extra £60 a week is far right?’
One driver tweeted: ‘Sadiq Khan is an absolute disgrace!! Calling people ‘far right’ because they object to the Ulez extension clearly shows he’s losing the argument. We all know this is to finance his failing TFL, if he was so concerned about air quality he’d ban these vehicles completely!’
Another wrote: ‘Let’s be clear here, I am far from far right or even right and I’m not an anti-vaxxer but I’m 100% against expanding the ULEZ at this time when people are hard up.’
A third added: ‘You called those opposed to Ulez far right and COVID deniers, I am neither and wish you to publicly apologise to all the Londoners you insulted. Your comments also incited hatred. Not a very professional look for a mayor whose job it is serve through democracy.’
A fourth said: ‘Mayor Khan should be sacked from the Labour Party for calling protestors in Ealing ‘far right, anti lockdown, anti covid vaccine, anti climate change’ people. The UK is not a communist state.’
Critics, including some London Labour MPs, have branded the policy a ‘tax raid’ and warned it will price key workers and others who have no choice about using vehicles out of the capital.
At a fiery meeting, Mr Khan compared the situation over Ulez to complaints before the ban on smoking in public places was introduced in 2007.
He added: ‘What I find unacceptable, though, is those who’ve got legitimate objections joining hands with some of those outside who are part of a far-Right group.’
Shaking his head amid shouts of protest from the audience, Mr Khan went on: ‘Let’s be frank, let’s call a spade a spade… some of those outside are part of the far-Right, some are Covid deniers, some are vaccine deniers and some are Tories.’
At that point the jeers became so loud that the chairman had to intervene and warn that the meeting might have to be broken up.
Peter Fortune, the Tories’ deputy leader at City Hall, shot back at Mr Khan: ‘If you disagree with the mayor he’s going to paint you as far-Right… he is going to say you are a flat-Earther… he doesn’t want to address the fact you’ve got legitimate concerns.’
He claimed the real issue behind the Ulez scheme was the need to prop up Transport for London (TfL), which runs the city’s buses and Underground, adding: ‘It’s about finance. At the end of the day this is about the mismanagement of TfL.
‘He never talks about the financial impact on people… he never wants to address that because the reality is he’s filling a financial hole in TfL.’
Peter Fortune, the Tories’ deputy leader at City Hall, shot back at Mr Khan: ‘If you disagree with the Mayor he’s going to paint you as Far Right.’
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy highlighted ‘placards including swastikas’ apparently being brandished outside the event last night
Nick Rogers, another Tory member of the London Assembly, said afterwards that Mr Khan’s comments were ‘some of the most disgraceful I have ever heard from any politician’, adding: ‘Labelling those who oppose his Ulez expansion as ‘far-Right’ is not OK. If he can’t hack the pressure of being mayor, he should resign.’
Mr Khan tweeted afterwards: ‘Good to answer questions in Ealing on how we are addressing genuine concerns about ULEZ expansion, whilst ensuring our children no longer breathe in poison.
‘To the conspiracy theorists who tried to disrupt tonight’s #PQT:: Londoners have no time for your dangerous misinformation.’
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