Ed Miliband speaks out on ULEZ in London and other cities - and on 'flat Earther' candidate

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The former Labour leader described the Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall, who said that she would scrap the ULEZ expansion “on day one”, as a “flat Earther”.

Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband says the Labour party is fully behind Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) but that he would “not advocate” for it to be rolled out elsewhere.

Last July, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he did not think there was “any doubt that ULEZ was the reason” for the party’s loss in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, when the Tories retained the seat previously held by Boris Johnson.

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The ULEZ enforces a daily £12.50 charge for driving older, more polluting vehicles which do not meet emissions standards. Last August, mayor Sadiq Khan expanded the zone to the whole of London after a previous change brought it out as far as the North and South Circular roads.

Speaking to journalists at a mayoral election campaign event on Friday, Mr Miliband said: “It's a settled policy. Sir Keir made that clear when he helped Sadiq launch his manifesto last month. Different local leaders will make different decisions in different parts of the country.

“That’s the whole point of devolution. We are not in a one size fits all world. Sadiq made this decision because of his concern about what was happening. Thousands of Londoners are being affected by air pollution.”

When asked whether he would encourage other cities in the UK to adopt a similar scheme, the former Labour leader said: “I’m not going to advocate for similar schemes throughout the country, that’s a matter for local leaders to make their own decisions.”

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Shadow Energy Secretary Ed MilibandShadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband
Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband

Mr Miliband described the Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall, who has said that she would scrap the ULEZ expansion “on day one”, as a “flat Earther”.

He told reporters it would be “a global embarrassment for Britain if Susan Hall was elected as the mayor of London”.

He added: “It would empower and embolden the anti-net zero, flat-Earth brigade across the world.”

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Asked whether he was saying Susan Hall is herself a “flat Earther”, he said: “I am. I absolutely am. When you share, on social media, climate denial – literally people questioning whether climate change is man-made – that makes you a climate-denier, that makes you a flat Earther.”

Mr Miliband was referring to now-deleted social media posts by Ms Hall, in particular, one where she shared an article from the Daily Sceptic which dismissed the impact of man-made greenhouse gas emissions on climate change. She urged the then-prime minister Boris Johnson to “please review the net-zero agenda – especially now in times of financial hardship”.

But Ms Hall is not thought to have ever said or sympathised with the conspiracy theory that the Earth is flat.

A spokesman for the Tory candidate said: “These Trump tactics from Sadiq Khan’s campaign are getting more and more desperate.

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“On May 2, Londoners will get the chance to vote out the Sadiq-Earther at City Hall, who seems to believe that the Earth revolves around himself.”

Mr Miliband joined Mr Khan during a visit to Stoke Newington School, where the mayor set out a 10-point climate action plan, to be implemented if he is re-elected in three weeks’ time.

The London mayoral election is on May 2, along with the election of London Assembly members. Voters are reminded they need photo ID following the introduction of new legislation.

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