Uxbridge by-election: Keir Starmer urges Sadiq Khan to 'reflect' on ULEZ expansion

  • Watch the moment the result was declared in Uxbridge and South Ruislip

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged Sadiq Khan to "reflect" on his ULEZ expansion after voters in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election appeared to reject the mayor's flagship policy.

Steve Tuckwell managed to retain Boris Johnson’s former seat for Rishi Sunak’s party in what was framed by the Conservatives as a referendum on the controversial charge on high-pollution vehicles.

Labour had hoped to take Uxbridge and South Ruislip, which the former prime minister held with a majority of 7,210 in 2019, but Mr Tuckwell held the seat with a much reduced majority of just 495.

Mr Khan said he was ready to listen to Londoners in the aftermath of the by-election with senior Labour figures lining up to blame the scheme for the party narrowly missing out on winning.

Starmer and Raynor, seen here with new MP Keir Mather, have both blamed ULEZ for Labour's failure to win Uxbridge. Credit: PA

Speaking on Friday, Sir Keir said: “We didn’t take it in 1997 when we had a landslide Labour victory. And Ulez was the reason we didn’t win there yesterday,” he said.

“We know that. We heard that on the doors. And we’ve all got to reflect on that, including the mayor.”

“We’ve got to look at the result. The mayor needs to reflect. And it’s too early to say what should happen next.”

The Conservative victory means that Mr Sunak was spared the prospect of being the first prime minister since 1968 to lose three by-elections on the same day.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans would see Ulez extended to all of the capital’s boroughs Credit: James Manning/PA

Despite the narrow win in Uxbridge, the prime minister will be bruised after seeing the Liberal Democrats overturn a 19,213 Tory majority in Somerton and Frome.

Sarah Dyke was elected as the new MP for the Somerset constituency, winning by 11,008 votes in a 29% swing away from the Conservative Party.

And in Selby and Ainsty, Labour took a seat where the Conservatives were defending a 20,137 majority.

Keir Mather polled more than 4,000 more votes than the Tory candidate Claire Holmes and at 25 years old will become the youngest MP in Parliament.

Conservative MP Steve Tuckwell after winning the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA

Labour candidate Danny Beales had distanced himself from ULEZ saying it was “not the right time” to expand the £12.50 daily charge for cars which fail to meet emissions standards.

The failure to overturn the Tory majority in the seat was dubbed “Uloss” by a party insider in a sign of the unease at Mr Khan’s plan.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and shadow justice secretary Steve Reed acknowledged it had been a factor in the campaign and called for Mr Khan to change course.

Mr Reed said: “I think there’s been a number of issues at play, but there has certainly been a number of voters who have said to us that they are very concerned about Ulez.

“Everyone wants to see clean air. But for some people, I think, given the chaos that there is in the economy, because the Conservatives have crashed it and the cost-of-living crisis that they fuelled, that this is the wrong time to introduce a charge for Ulez.”

In his victory speech, new MP Mr Tuckwell said Mr Khan had cost Labour the seat.

“It was his damaging and costly Ulez policy that lost them this election,” he said.

“This wasn’t the campaign Labour expected and Keir Starmer and his mayor Sadiq Khan need to sit up and listen to the Uxbridge and South Ruislip residents.”

There was 6.7 percentage point swing in the share of the vote from Conservative to Labour in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Labour needed a 7.6 point swing to take the seat.

Full results from the Uxbridge and Ruislip South by-election:

Conservative hold

Steve Tuckwell (C) 13,965 (45.16%)

Danny Beales (Lab) 13,470 (43.56%)

Sarah Green (Green) 893 (2.89%)

Laurence Fox (Reclaim) 714 (2.31%)

Blaise Baquiche (LD) 526 (1.70%)

Steve Gardner (Soc Dem) 248 (0.80%)

Kingsley Anti Ulez (Ind) 208 (0.67%)

Count Binface (Binface) 190 (0.61%)

No Ulez Leo Phaure (Ind) 186 (0.60%)

Richard Hewison (Rejoin) 105 (0.34%)

Piers Corbyn (LLL) 101 (0.33%)

Cameron Bell (Ind) 91 (0.29%)

Enomfon Ntefon (CPA) 78 (0.25%)

Rebecca Jane (UKIP) 61 (0.20%)

Ed Gemmell (Climate) 49 (0.16%)

Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 32 (0.10%)

Seventy-seven Joseph (Ind) 8 (0.03%)

C maj 495 (1.60%)

Electorate 67,067; Turnout 30,925 (46.11%, -22.37%)

2019: C maj 7,210 (14.96%) – Turnout 48,187 (68.48%)

Johnson (C) 25,351 (52.61%); Milani (Lab) 18,141 (37.65%); Humphreys

(LD) 3,026 (6.28%); Keir (Green) 1,090 (2.26%); Courtenay (UKIP) 283

(0.59%); Buckethead (Loony) 125 (0.26%); Binface (Ind) 69 (0.14%);

Utting (Ind) 44 (0.09%); Yogenstein (ND) 23 (0.05%); Burke (Ind) 22

(0.05%); Smith (ND) 8 (0.02%); Tobin (ND) 5 (0.01%)

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