Daily Mail

Fury as Khan brands ULEZ critics ‘Covid deniers’ and ‘far-Right’

- By Isabelle Stanley

RESIDENTS shouted down Sadiq Khan after the London Mayor branded opponents to his controvers­ial traffic scheme as being ‘farRight’ and ‘Covid deniers’.

At a public meeting, Mr Khan tried defending his planned expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Owners of non-compliant vehicles are charged £12.50 a day to drive in the zone.

Referring to a group of protesters at the event in Ealing, west London, the mayor said: ‘Let’s be frank. Some of those outside are part of the far-Right. Some are Covid deniers. Some are vaccine deniers. And some are Tories.’

Audience members shouted back:

‘Disgracefu­l comments’

‘We are not the far-Right – normal people are not the far-Right.’

Mr Khan’s comments sparked outrage, with Conservati­ve Party chairman Greg Hands calling for him to be voted out in the next election. He said: ‘These are awful comments from the London mayor, smearing anti-ULEZ voices like this. I am not surprised the audience in Ealing pushed back.’

The ULEZ covers the area inside the North and South Circular roads, but the mayor intends to expand it to cover all of Greater London on August 29.

Birmingham, Bath, Bradford, Bristol, Sheffield, Oxford and Portsmouth have their own low emissions schemes and may look to the capital’s lead on whether to expand them.

It comes as drivers have complained about a ‘war on motorists’ across the UK, with low traffic neighbourh­oods (LTNs) and clean air zones limiting the areas in which cars can drive freely.

Critics say the London ULEZ does little to improve air quality and will have a dire impact on families who rely on their cars.

Even London Labour MPs have opposed it, warning it could price key workers out of the city.

At one point during the Ealing meeting, the audience’s jeers became so loud, the chairman had to intervene and warn that it might have to be broken up.

Mr Khan shook his head while the audience shouted and then continued: ‘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.’

Conservati­ve London Assembly member Peter Fortune said: ‘You heard it, didn’t you? If you disagree with the mayor, he’s going to paint you as far-Right.

‘He’s going to throw all this stuff at you, because he doesn’t want to address the fact you’ve got legitimate concerns.’

Another Conservati­ve assembly member, Nick Rogers, tweeted: ‘Tonight’s comments... are some of the most disgracefu­l I have ever heard from any politician. 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.’

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: ‘There are clearly genuine concerns about ULEZ among the small proportion of drivers who have the most polluting vehicles and are worried. That’s why Sadiq is doing all he can to support small businesses and those on low incomes to switch to cleaner, greener vehicles through his £110 million scrappage scheme.

‘The mayor stands by his decision to call out the vile messages on display outside the event in Ealing. Those who came to protest included people displaying Nazi symbols and spreading vaccine conspiracy theories.’

 ?? ?? Jeered: Mr Khan at the meeting
Jeered: Mr Khan at the meeting

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