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WATCH: Khan Calls Tory Councillor ‘Thick’ In Heated ULEZ Debate, Then Apologises



Labour’s London mayor, Sadiq Khan, issued a grovelling apology today after calling a Tory rival ‘thick’ during a debate about the controversial ULEZ scheme. 

Khan said he was “really sorry” for making the comment to Conservative London Assembly member Peter Fortune at Mayor’s Question Time.

Fortune press Khan to reveal when he would publish reports into the impact of the ULEZ expansion.

The Tory London Assembly member said: “What you’ve just said there is you’re going to follow what you did last time. What you did last time was you published a report, it’s in front of me now, I read things.

“What I’m asking is are you going to publish the report for the expansion and if you are going to can we expect it in the same sort of timeframe, say early October?”


After a few minutes of back-and-forth squabbling, Khan remarked that it is “like being back at sixth form… better debaters there”.

Mr Fortune replied: “Did you talk to handsome and intelligent men at sixth form as well?”

The London Mayor then said: “For somebody who reads a lot, he ain’t half thick.”

Mr Fortune said: “Listen, that’s when know you’re in trouble when you start getting personal.

Tory Councillor Peter Fortune clashed with Labour mayor Sadiq Khan over ULEZ.

Tory Councillor Peter Fortune clashed with Labour mayor Sadiq Khan over ULEZ.

“Remember you’re the Mayor of London, you’re a grown man, well nearly, and you should act accordingly.”

Andrew Boff, the chairman of the London Assembly, intervened to warn against the use of insults.

He said: “We should not be using personal abuse in this chamber. It’s not helpful and it makes us look a bit seedy.”

Mr Khan later paused the session to make an apology to Mr Fortune, but it is not the first time he has come under fire over his choice of words.

Earlier in the year, the Labour mayor branded activists opposing ULEZ as ‘far-right’ conspiracy theorists – a slur that was then parroted by the BBC.

Writing in VoteWatch last month, Conservative Harrow councillor Matthew Goodwin-Freeman said:


“Despite the fact someone at the BBC thought it appropriate to copy + paste Mayor Khan’s ‘far-right’ smear from People’s Question Time just one month earlier on 2nd March where he also called those against ULEZ fair-right, all we, the people got was an apology uploaded online – no resignations or live apologies.

And on the ULEZ, argument has rumbled – the Uxbridge & South Ruislip by-election saw an almost certain Labour victory denied as voters in the outer London borough made it explicitly clear that they do not want ULEZ.

Overnight Labour were thrown into internal warfare with MPs and Councillors coming out against ULEZ and calling on their leader, Sir spineless Starmer to have a word with the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Did he change his mind? HA! No.

Then 5 Conservative Councils – including my own Harrow Council, took Mayor Khan to court with the Judicial Review, but were sadly unsuccessful. And then the hundreds of thousands of stories from ordinary Londoners started coming out, small, family businesses closing down, staff asking bosses to cover the daily ULEZ charge, perfectly good cars being scrapped for peanuts, all for a scheme to improve air quality that the Mayor’s own data shows will have a “negligible” impact on air quality. So what is it really then? A tax on drivers.

Yet finally the day has come, after months of pressure from inside, outside and all over the country, Labour have finally come out against introducing ULEZ-like schemes across the UK. Remember, ULEZ is not a London-only scheme. Similar schemes are being explored in every part of the country, from Glasgow to Bristol, York to Birmingham, Newcastle and of course London. The latest Labour U-turn is a welcome one, but far too late to pull the wool over voters.


So where are we now? Conservative: against ULEZ from the start. Labour: now finally opposed to ULEZ. Londoners: 66% of whom said no to ULEZ in the consultation. Mayor Khan: still ploughing ahead.


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