Sadiq Khan is stepping up his ULEZ propaganda machine. After the Mayor was accused of “channelling Putin” for dismissing those protesting his punitive ULEZ plans as “part of a far-right group”, he’s now stepping up City Hall’s spinning efforts. Sadiq has been spotted using GLA funds to promote Facebook posts defending his ULEZ plans. It’s not like Sadiq to waste money on publicity stunts…
Prospective Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Samuel Kasumu, has weighed in, saying:
“I’m very concerned about his use of taxpayers’ money for his ULEZ expansion propaganda. The language used by Sadiq Khan last night was divisive and deeply worrying. His dismissing of the very valid concerns of the people he is supposed to serve is further proof that he is unfit for office”.
May 2024 can’t come soon enough.
London Labour MPs Seema Malhotra, Jon Cruddas, and Siobhain McDonagh have hit out at Sadiq Khan’s plan to expand the ULEZ to cover the whole of Greater London, set to be implemented on 29th August. According to LBC, the three MPs have broken cover to attack the money-grabbing scheme – drivers of cars which don’t meet emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 just to switch on their engines – over fears it will disproportionately affect lower-income workers and weaken the local economy. Just yesterday, it was reported that nearly every Home Counties council said it would refuse to play ball over the scheme…
Now Labour’s own MPs are openly turning against it. Seema Malhotra, Labour’s Shadow Business and Consumers Minister, said this morning:
“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… [the plans will have] a disproportionate effect on lower income families and the self-employed who use their vehicle for work.”
Jon Cruddas added he was “deeply disappointed” the scheme was going ahead, with Siobhain McDonagh also opposing it. Sadiq, meanwhile, is pressing ahead, claiming the plan will save lives. When quizzed on the policy last month, Sir Keir himself gave the Mayor his full backing. ULEZ if you want to…
The ULEZ expansion has already riled home county Tory MPs, who are roundly attacking Sadiq Khan’s decision. The move hits any commuters hoping to drive into London – an easy cash cow for City Hall. Now Guido understands the real-world effect of the ULEZ expansion is hitting MPs where it hurts.
Langford Printers is one of the primary providers of headed paper for MPs, with the latest set of expenses data showing that in the months between March and August 2022 alone they received over £13,000 of taxpayer cash to supply both MPs and Lords with stationery to communicate with their constituents.
Guido now hears the expansion of the ULEZ is forcing the company to close shop, much to the chagrin of parliamentary staffers who say they’re “gutted” and left asking “where will we get our paper from?”.
Speaking to Langford Printers this morning, Guido was informed that while a number of issues have to come together to force the company to shut, the ULEZ was the straw the broke the camel’s back. While the owner lives inside the ULEZ, the business is just outside the zone and the £25-a-day charge – £600 a month – is a major contributing factor to the decision, with the company’s vans just six months outside of the permitted ULEZ exception. Maybe this sad story will bring home to Labour MPs the cost of their mayor’s decision…
Questions to the Mayor over in City Hall have just descended into chaos in the last few minutes, with Sadiq making the wild claim that the Tories somehow “don’t care” about dying children… because they don’t support his ULEZ expansion. Grab the popcorn…
“The Conservatives clearly do not care about our children developing permanently stunted lungs and premature deaths in our city […] they’re in the pocket of vested interests…”
The meeting immediately fell to pieces, with furious Tory AM Emma Best member attacking Sadiq for suggesting she doesn’t care about the health of her own children.
The Tory leader in the assembly, Susan Hall, also sparked a major row with the chair as she flung a tirade at Sadiq without asking a question.
Genuinely much more enjoyable than any Commons scenes from the last few months…
Sadiq Khan is back doing what he does best: spaffing taxpayer’s cash on publicity stunts. The Mayor’s most recent scheme is a £145,000 advice bus, to provide Londoners with information during the cost of living crisis. The trouble is, just 13% of the budget is being spent on advisers, with the rest going on publicity, project management and logistics. According to the Bus’ decision document, £12,000 was allocated for publicity, £10,000 on a celebrity endorsement and £1,000 on a photographer. £18,000 will go towards actual advice…
Of the funding for the bus, £45,000 came from London’s Low-income and Food programme and £70,000 from the Children and Young Londoners Early Years budget. Emma Best, the GLA Conservatives’ health spokesperson, said:
“Sadiq Khan should be judged by his actions, not his words, and what he appears to have done here is take money from people in need to fund his own publicity… He claims to want to help those who are most in need, but like some kind of reverse Robin Hood, he takes cash away from those who desperately need it to splash on feel-good campaigns that boost his own PR”
Sadiq’s stunt is not only wasteful, it also highlights the Mayor’s hypocrisy: the bus used in the Mayor’s photo-op is a diesel-guzzler. All the while, Sadiq punishes London’s diesel drivers with his ULEZ expansion.
Sadiq Khan has had to fess up to his disinformation. Tony Devenish asked the Mayor about an inaccurate tweet, first fact-checked by Guido, and offered this response:
“This tweet was based on research published in a well-known and reputable national newspaper. Following further analysis from City Hall’s air quality research team the tweet was deleted. We are committed to ensuring the information we provide Londoners with is as accurate as possible… social media posts are signed off by senior policy and Mayor’s office staff”
Senior policy and Mayor’s office staff should hold higher standards than unquestioningly repeating newspaper claims. The Mayor claims to be committed to the provision of accurate information, and yet the impact of his debunked claim is still on show. A quick Google search reveals a range of unquestioning coverage of the Mayor’s claims, including from Time Out. If Sadiq really wants to tackle London’s pollution, he should start with his own press office.