Khan’s Controversial ULEZ Plan Gets Unlikely Backer

In a notable display of unity, Labour leader Keir Starmer publicly backs London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion, emphasising shared commitment to cleaner air policies ahead of the mayoral election. Here’s the full story. 

Labour Unity

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At the recent launch of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s re-election campaign, a notable display of unity emerged between Khan and Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader.

New Friends

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The event marked a significant change in their relationship, as previous disagreements over policy have threatened to overshadow their work in government. 


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The last major upheaval in their sometimes troubled relationship was the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion, a scheme under which heavy polluter vehicles must pay a charge of £12.50 to enter the ultra-low emission zones. 

Whirlwind of Opposition

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The ULEZ expansion, which sought to curb air pollution, became controversial after the scheme was met with a whirlwind of opposition from both Conservative and Labour politicians.

No Endorsement

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Starmer had notably refrained from endorsing the scheme, with some attributing Labour’s failure to secure Boris Johnson’s former seat to this stance.

Breathing Dirty Air

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However, Starmer voiced his support for Sadiq Khan’s commitment to cleaner air in London at the campaign launch, stating, “I say to people who challenge me on cleaner air, I’ve got two kids. They’re 15 and 13. I wouldn’t give them dirty water to drink, and I wouldn’t want them to breathe in dirty air.”

Effectiveness and Acceptance

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Sadiq Khan, in turn, defended the ULEZ expansion, highlighting both its effectiveness and public acceptance. 

“The Sky Didn’t Fall In”

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Khan stated, “When we first planned to bring it in in central London, there were people who were hostile and anti. It came in and the sky didn’t collapse. We then expanded it to inner London, lots of complaints and concerns and by the way the Tories have been consistent in opposing it at all levels, the sky didn’t fall in.”

“Don’t Pay a Penny More”

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He continued, “We then expanded it to outer London and here’s the great news – 19 out of 20 cars seen travelling on an average day are compliant… they don’t pay a penny more.”

Policy Differences

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The unity between Starmer and Khan holds political significance, particularly amidst differences on various policy fronts.

EU Single Market

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Khan has previously expressed support for re-joining the EU single market, something that negative poll-averse Starmer has not joined him in calling for. 

Free School Meals

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Khan has also introduced free school meals for the capital’s children in their primary school years, something that Keir Starmer has, as yet, refused to commit to for the whole country if he should be elected. 

Shared Vision

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Despite these disparities, both leaders expressed a shared vision for enacting positive change if Labour were to govern nationally and locally.

Confident in Victory

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With Khan seeking a historic third term in office against Conservative mayoral nominee Susan Hall, the campaign launch showcased his confidence in securing victory despite challenges. 

“Two Horse” Race

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Polls indicating his favorability suggest a strong position, though Khan remained cautious, characterising the contest as a “two-horse” race.

“Brightest Days Are Ahead”

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Khan said of the upcoming vote, “It’s a choice that will determine if London’s brightest days are ahead of us or behind us, and if the next generation of young Londoners will be better off than the last.”

Voting May 2nd

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He continued, “So please don’t leave it to chance. Vote for the future you want for our amazing city on May 2.”

Crime Rates

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In addition to his environmental policies, Khan addressed criticism of the crime rates in the city of London. 

Safer City

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Khan asserted that the city remains comparable to its global counterparts, stating, “You compare London to any global city, and we are the safer city. ” 

Fewer Homicides

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He also pointed to research suggesting fewer homicides in the UK capital than in other major cities.

UCL Research

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He continued, referring to research that showed London had fewer homicides than other comparable cities: “New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris. Don’t take my word for it—look at the research done by UCL.”

“Maximum Opportunity”

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However, Khan insisted that there was still a need for vigilance and improvement in tackling crime, stating, “But I’m not complacent… I’ve met too many victims of crime, I’ve met too many bereaved families. That’s why I’m saying this year is a moment of maximum opportunity.”

Power Coming

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As the mayoral election looms, Keir Starmer’s collaborative stance with Sadiq Khan reflects the widespread belief, both in the Labour Party and around the country, that the party may be on its way to power. 

Optics Focused

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Keir Starmer, always wary of anything that could make either him or the party look bad, will have been conscious of this as he stepped up to support Sadiq Khan’s candidacy. 

United Front

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Though the two may have had disagreements, the need to present a united front, particularly as the Conservatives begin to disintegrate on a national level, is more potent than any animosity between them.

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The post Khan’s Controversial ULEZ Plan Gets Unlikely Backer first appeared on Edge Media.

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Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.

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