Sadiq Khan dubbed desperately beatable in mayoral elections

Sadiq Khan claims some opposing ULEZ are ‘far right’

A former Conservative mayoral candidate has warned that Sadiq Khan is “desperately beatable” in next year’s mayoral election. But he said his party will need a high-profile candidate who is “recognised by the public” in order to guarantee a win.

He said: “Here’s a guy going for a third term who actually is beatable … I think he is desperately beatable.”

Mr Norris described the Mayor’s plan to extend ULEZ as “very divisive”, saying it is alienating traditional Labour voters in London.

He explained: “Here is a Labour mayor who doesn’t tax me because my cars are all posh enough they don’t need to pay ULEZ, but does tax people for being poor.

“There are lots of people who are not at all well-off who need a van or a car in order to do their jobs and can’t afford to upgrade it.”

But he caveated: “He is only beatable if the Tories have a candidate who is actually likely to be recognised by the public and what’s more liked by the public.

“Do they have to know that person now? No, not necessarily.

“But it would clearly be much preferable if they were somebody that people recognised and that they could therefore at least impress themselves on voters in advance.”

Speaking to the Telegraph, the politician added: “The trouble with politics these days is it’s such an unattractive proposition in general and it’s hard yards running a campaign to be mayor of London.

“You want this celebrity to potentially ruin their reputation, for half the city to hate them which also happens, to get into tough fights where you have to say ‘no, you’re wrong’, where you have to work your way through a group of people who are trying to stop you going into a venue?

“I’ve done all this stuff and it’s worse now than it was 20 years ago.”

Mr Khan has faced growing backlash in recent months for his plans to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, with the Mayor facing a High Court challenge over the plans.

It is understood a judge accepted a request from five Tory councils – Harrow, Hillingdon, Bromley, Bexley and Surrey county council – for a judicial review of the mayor’s plans.

The hearing, taking place in July, will effectively decide whether Mr Khan acted legally or illegally in giving the go-ahead for the scheme’s expansion. The £12.50 ULEZ charge applies to vehicles that do not meet up-to-date emissions standards and currently covers inner London.

Howard Cox from FairFuel accused the Mayor of “cash-grabbing”, saying that the plans are “not only contemptible but now maybe seen to be unlawful”.

He called for an independent public inquiry into what he dubbed “immoral behaviour”.

Mr Cox claimed Mr Khan made “false and dishonest” statements to the London Assembly and “manipulated ULEZ results.”

But a spokesman for the Mayor described the legal battle as “costly and misguided”.

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