Sadiq Khan grilling at Mayors Questions descends into chaos

Sadiq Khan scolded by Conservative assembly member over ULEZ

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Sadiq Khan’s grilling at Mayor’s Questions today descended into chaos as a furious row erupted over his ultra low emission zone (Ulez) expansion. The London Mayor accused the GLA Conservatives of not caring about the impact of air pollution in the capital on children’s lungs in the bitter clash at City Hall this morning.

Mr Khan said: “The Conservatives clearly do not care about our children developing permanently stunted lungs and clearly do not care about the premature deaths in our city directly attributable to air quality because they’re in the pockets of vested interests.”

But the London Mayor’s comments prompted an outcry from other Assembly Members.

Tory Emma Best said: “Chair, I’d like to have a point of personal explanation. I won’t sit here and accept that.

“You have said the Conservatives on the Assembly do not care about the air quality that children breathe.

“You are saying that I do not care about the air quality that my children breathe.”

Elsewhere during the heated session, GLA Conservatives leader Susan Hall told Mr Khan: “Don’t you dare ever tell us who we want to protect and who we don’t. We do care about children and take that on board.”

It comes as the London Mayor is facing strong opposition to his plans to expand the zone covered by the pollution charge to all London boroughs.

The Ulez expansion, due to begin in August, will mean drivers must pay a £12.50 daily charge if their vehicle does not meet the required emission standards. The zone currently covers all areas within the North and South Circular Roads.

Rishi Sunak yesterday urged Mr Khan to “properly reconsider” plans to enlarge the Ulez.

The PM’s intervention came after City Hall Tories accused the London Mayor of manipulating the final results of a consultation on his plans, by excluding some so-called “campaign responses”, which lowered the level of opposition in the final count from 62 percent to 59 percent.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Conservative MP David Simmonds said: “Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner has a great many car-dependent older and disabled constituents, many of who are horrified to read that the Mayor of London may have manipulated the outcome of his own consultation in order to impose an unwanted £12.50 daily charge every time they go for a medical appointment or attend hospital.

“Does he agree with me that any further rollout of the Ulez should be paused until these matters have been fully investigated?”

Mr Sunak replied: “It is disappointing that the Mayor, backed by the Leader of the Opposition, is choosing not to listen to the public, expanding the zone against the overwhelming views of residents and business.

“I urge the Mayor to properly reconsider and respond to these serious concerns.”

Meanwhile, South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay claimed expanding the Ulez would be an unfair tax on residents of the surrounding Home Counties.

The Prime Minister responded: “The Labour Mayor is imposing this tax on a public which does not want it. He is right to highlight that.

“Expanding this zone is not something that communities want and I look forward to working with him to urge the Mayor to properly consider and respond to all these views and stop this unfair tax.”

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