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London mayor stands by ULEZ expansion after Uxbridge by-election loss | Politics News

London mayor Sadiq Khan has stood by his decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the capital’s outer boroughs, despite it being touted as the reason Labour lost the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.

Speaking to reporters, the Labour mayor said he was “disappointed” the party didn’t win the seat overnight.

But he insisted the ULEZ expansion, due to come in next month, was “the right one”, adding: “It was a difficult decision to take. But just like nobody will accept drinking dirty water, why accept dirty air?”.

Politics live: Next election ‘not a done deal’ – Sunak

Many had predicted Labour would overturn the 7,000 majority in Boris Johnson’s old seat in west London after the former prime minister’s shock exit as an MP last month.

But throughout the campaign, it became clear the London mayor’s plan to expand ULEZ had angered people on the doorstep.

The Tories clung on to the seat with a majority just shy of 500 votes – which was albeit still a 6.7% swing towards Labour – and Rishi Sunak told reporters: “When there’s an actual choice on a matter of substance at stake, people vote Conservative.”

But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner told Sky News the constituency was “not a Labour seat” and did not even turn red during the party’s landslide victory in 1997.

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The prime minister reacts to losing two by-elections

ULEZ was first proposed by Mr Johnson during his stint as London mayor as a way to cut air pollution in the capital.

When he announced it in 2015, he said it was “an essential measure to help improve air quality in our city, protect the health of Londoners, and lengthen our lead as the greatest city on earth”.

London's Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is to be expanded in August
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London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is to be expanded in August

The policy in its current form – which sees drivers having to pay a £12.50 daily fee to drive in the zone if their car does not meet emissions standards – currently covers central London and the areas up to, but not including, the North and South Circular Roads.

But Mr Khan plans to expand the zone up to the capital’s borders with Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey from the end of August.

By-election results: Who are the new MPs in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Selby and Ainsty, and Somerton and Frome? | Politics News

After the three by-elections – in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Selby and Ainsty, and Somerton and Frome – there will be three new MPs taking their seats in parliament.

The elections took place following the resignations of three Conservatives – Boris Johnson, Nigel Adams and David Warburton.

The Conservatives saw significant defeats in Selby to Labour, and to the Lib Dems in Somerton and Frome, but were able to win a narrow victory in Uxbridge.

So who are the new MPs that will be taking their seats in parliament after the summer recess?

Follow by-election coverage live:
Reaction as Tories hang on in Uxbridge

Keir Mather

Labour’s 25-year-old Keir Mather was declared the winner of the by-election in Selby and Ainsty in North Yorkshire.

Mr Mather works as a senior public affairs adviser for the Confederation of British Industry and before that was a parliamentary researcher for shadow health secretary Wes Streeting.

At just 25, he is now the youngest MP in the Commons – replacing Labour’s Nadia Whittome as the so-called Baby of the House.

Keir Mather is now the MP for Selby and Ainsty
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Keir Mather is now the MP for Selby and Ainsty

The Oxford graduate, from Hull, has said his age means he can relate to younger voters who are struggling to get on the housing ladder and facing a lack of economic opportunity.

His campaign centred on the cost of living crisis, public transport and NHS waiting lists, as well as local issues such as flooding and sewage, and anti-social behaviour.

Labour overturned a Conservative majority of 20,137 with his win – the largest majority reversed at a by-election.

Mr Mather won 16,456 votes, compared to the 12,295 cast for the Tory candidate Claire Holmes. This equals a majority of 4,161.

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Labour: Today we have made history

Steve Tuckwell

Steve Tuckwell will succeed Boris Johnson as the Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, after a hard fought battle with Labour in west London.

Mr Tuckwell was declared the winner after a speedy recount – but he only secured a majority of 495.

The former postie is a lifelong resident of South Ruislip and has represented the area as a ward councillor since 2018.

He has sought to distance himself from Mr Johnson by focusing his campaign on local issues, declaring the vote a “referendum” on ULEZ – the controversial plan to expand the zone where people have to pay a £12.50 daily fee to drive in London if their vehicle does not meet emission standards.

Steve Tuckwell is the new Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP
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Steve Tuckwell is the new Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP

Mr Tuckwell argues the charge will devastate businesses and cost families up to £4,500 a year.

Read more:
Sunak suffers bruising by-election defeats – but holds Uxbridge

Sarah Dyke

Lib Dem Sarah Dyke, who lives in the Somerton and Frome constituency that she will now represent, has said her farming family can trace their local roots back over more than 250 years.

She has represented Blackmoor Vale on Somerset unitary council since the 2022 local elections, where she defeated Hayward Burt, CCHQ’s resident expert on conquering Liberal Democrats.

Sarah Dyke is the new MP for Somerton and Frome
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Sarah Dyke is the new MP for Somerton and Frome

She holds the council’s portfolio for the environment and climate change.

She was selected as the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate back in May 2022.