Row as Sadiq Khan condemns ‘far-right’ element among anti-ULEZ protesters

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Row as Sadiq Khan condemns ‘far-right’ element among anti-ULEZ protesters

Photographs confirm protestors outside the Mayor of London's People's Question Time event in Ealing carried a banner featuring a swastika and an image

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Banner with swastika on right corner featuring Mayor of London Sadiq Khan held by protestor outside event in Ealing
Banner with swastika on right corner featuring Mayor of London Sadiq Khan held by protestor outside event in Ealing

A row has erupted after Sadiq Khan claimed people with “legitimate objections” to the Ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) zone have been “joining hands” with people from “far-right groups.”

The Mayor of London made the comments during a heated debate on the issueat a People’s Question Time event on Thursday evening.

Referring to anti-ULEZ protestors who had gathered outside the event in Ealing, including Piers Corbyn, the brother of the former Labour leader, Khan told the audience:”“Let’s be frank, let’s call a spade a spade. Some of those outside are part of the far-right. Some are Covid deniers. Some are vaccine-deniers. And some are Tories.”

Some inside the event objected to the comments, and protested were heard suggesting they were “normal people” who were objecting to the traffic zone.

Conservative Assembly Member Peter Fortune, who was also at the event, criticised Khan’s comments, saying: “You heard it didn’t you? If you disagree with the Mayor, he’s going to paint you as far-right.”

But another source who attended the event told Jewish News that amongst the audience were individuals linked to far-right groups, along with activists on the far-left previously expelled from Labour over antisemitism allegations.

Sadiq Khan speaks at People’s Question Time event in Ealing

On Friday, Tory Party chairman Greg Hands attempted to continue the attacks on Khan tweeting:”These are awful comments from the London Mayor, smearing anti-ULEZ voices like this.” I am not surprised the audience in Ealing pushed back. We need to vote Mayor Khan out next May!”

Piers Corbyn amongst the protestors

But photographs of protesters outside the event confirmed that at least one banner included an image of a swastika, and a communist hammer and sickle, with a photograph of the mayor that is clearly used to give the impression he was making a Nazi salute.

The banner features the wording:”Get This Davos Khan-T Out” – alluding to the claim that the mayor is operating under the control of a global elite.

Video footage seen by Jewish News also shows Corbyn, with a group of protesters chanting “What a Khan-T” repeatedly outside the venue. One man is heard labelling the mayor a “scumbag”, while others chant that Khan is a “traitor.”

Other protestors carried placards attempting to portray ULEZ are a further attempt by governments to exert control over society.

Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge was among those to condemn Tory chair Hands’ attempt to dismiss the mayor’s far-right comments.

She tweeted:”It’s totally unacceptable for Greg Hands to give legitimacy to far-right protestors carrying swastikas and spouting dangerous conspiracy theories. Trying to gain votes on the back of racism is disgusting. The Tories must reflect on who they choose to align themselves with.”

While many have legitimate concerns about the expansion of ULEZ, there are growing concerns about the influence of far-right protestors and conspiracy theorists around the issue.


On Friday, a spokesperson for Khan told Jewish News:”“The Mayor completely stands by his decision to call out the vile messages on display outside the event in Ealing.

“Those who came to protest included some of most dangerous spreaders of vaccine conspiracy theories and people displaying Nazi symbols. Whether in London or in any other part of the country, dangerous conspiracy theories and abhorrent far-right activity should always be condemned in the strongest possible form.”

Supporters of ULEZ argue it will help clear London’s air by providing grant payments to successful applicants to scrap or retrofit vehicles that do not meet the emissions standards and switch to cleaner, greener modes of transport.

At a Bromley council meeting this week Cllr Will Rowlands, chair of the environment scrutiny panel, also sparked concerns when said the ULEZ expansion was the “new Berlin wall around our outer borders” which had been “aided by the ‘stasification of the outer region with a surveillance system.”

He said the expansion represented the “unravelling of socialism in its darkest form”.

A source close to the mayor responded saying:“This is outrageous. In opposing our clean air policies, the Tories have gone from science denial to ridiculous and offensive cold war comparisons. The Tories need to stop stoking fear and spreading misinformation, and get behind our policies to clean up London’s air.”






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