ULEZ blamed for Labour loss in Uxbridge by-election

Both Labour and the Conservatives have blamed ULEZ for the former's loss in the Uxbridge by-election, in which the Conservatives maintained their seat.

ULEZ Low Emissions Zone

MPs of both the Labour and Conservative parties have blamed ULEZ for the former’s defeat in a by-election in Uxbridge.

Uxbridge, once the constituency of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was retained by the Conservatives in the by-election which took place on 20 July 2023.

The BBC reports that the victorious Conservative candidate, Steve Tuckwell, said that a part of the reason he was able to win the by-election was the unpopularity of the planned expansion of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ, originally proposed by the aforementioned Johnson when he was Mayor of London in 2013), which is supported by Labour’s Sadiq Khan, the current Mayor of London, and which is set to be implemented next month (August 2023).

Supporters of the upcoming expansion of ULEZ cite cleaner air resulting from reduced pollution as reasons for their support. On the other hand, those in opposition to it cite the financial burden that would be placed on residents of areas into which the zone would expand. 

The Labour MP and deputy leader Angela Rayner concurred with Tuckwell’s view, saying that the Uxbridge result shows that “when you don't listen to voters you don't win elections”. 

Rayner added that, while cities need clean air, those whose vehicles do not comply with regulations attempting to provide that should be the focus of greater support from the government. Therefore, alterations to the ULEZ scrappage scheme could potentially be implemented, with Rayner saying that Labour would be “getting round the table” to discuss such changes.

The London ULEZ, which charges motorists with vehicles which do not meet modern emissions standards £12.50 per day to travel through it, is set to expand from its current area of within the North Circular road to the borders London shares with Kent, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Essex, and Hertfordshire on 29 August 2023.

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