Angela Rayner admits ULEZ is coming to every town
Sadiq Khan could be punished at the polls by voters furious with the London Mayor over his Ulez car charge, according to Labour insiders.
Mr Khan is standing for re-election next May, but now faces the prospect of being booted out from his office, where he has reigned supreme since 2016.
The Mayor was expected to easily secure a second term in what is traditionally a Labour stronghold, but his popularity has taken a hammering over his insistence on expanding the controversial road charge – dubbed the Toll Tax.
The Tories now sense an opportunity to dethrone him from his seat of power, as they seek to exploit public anger over the explosive row.
Mr Khan is also facing a threat from Labour’s former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is said to be considering a run for Mayor.
READ MORE: Sunak orders review of anti-car schemes after ULEZ helps Tories win seat
Party officials fear the London politician could get “squeezed” between the Tories on the right and the Corbynistas on the left – paving the way for his defeat next May.
“People are furious with Sadiq,” a Labour insider told the Sun on Sunday.
“He might do the unthinkable and lose Labour’s backyard of London.
“We could see a repeat of the Boris Johnson doughnut strategy.”
Mr Khan wants to expand Ulez to cover the whole of London in a bid to improve London’s poor air quality.
Drivers of cars that don’t meet emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 per day to use their vehicles or risk a £160 fine.
Five Conservative-run councils launched legal action back in February over the charge, which is due to come into force on August 29.
Last week, the High Court ruled against them, giving the green light to the Mayor to press ahead with his plans.
Khan’s critics have argued that the charge will hit low income families and local businesses with extra costs at a time when they are already struggling with the cost of living crisis.
Ian Edwards, leader of Hillingdon Council, said he was bitterly disappointed by the High Court ruling.
“Many thousands of low-income earners, vulnerable people ordinary workers and small businesses who are the beating heart of our borough will have to shoulder further costs which they cannot afford,” he said.
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“It will cause even greater financial hardship and for some, it will cause the loss of business or employment.
“We will continue our fight on behalf of our residents and business through parliament and at next year’s mayoral election.”
The controversial charge has ignited a civil war within the Labour Party, with senior officials and local campaigners blaming Ulez for their defeat at the recent Uxbridge by-election.
One Labour activist said the Mayor’s decision to go full throttle with the road tax raised serious questions about his political judgement.
Other party figures have also not held back in criticising the London Mayor’s plans.
Seema Malhotra, the Shadow Business Minister, told LBC back in February: “Whilst I share the goal of reducing pollution and increasing air quality, I am very concerned about the economic impact the current roll-out plans will have on residents and small businesses.”
She added the plans would have a disproportionate effect on lower income families and the self-employed who use their cars.
The Tories are looking to harness the anger over Ulez in other parts of the country, such as Greater Manchester.
YouGov polling in July revealed half of voters are opposed to Ulez-style surcharges in their local area, up nine points from June 2021.
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