The Conservatives in London, under threat of being wiped out as a political force at the next General Election (with the possible exception of Croydon South), are positioning themselves as the pro-car, pro-pollution party in a desperate effort to win over votes.
That much was plain when Jason Perry, Croydon’s anti-school street Mayor who pandered to the motoring lobby during the local elections, added his name to a round-robin letter with other Tory council leaders opposing the expansion of ULEZ – the ultra-low emissions zone, a measure being introduced to try to reduce toxic air across the capital.
Now Sutton and Cheam’s MP Paul Scully has put himself forward as a possible candidate to challenge Labour’s Sadiq Khan in the 2024 London Mayoral election, offering opposition to ULEZ as almost the only plank of policy he has to stand on.
“I’m ambitious for London, but not for me,” the disingenuous Scully told the Evening Boris yesterday.
The central London evening paper, it is worth noting, is owned by a Russian son of a KGB agent who was made a peer by Boris Johnson when he was wrecking the country while Prime Minister. There have been no Ukraine war sanctions applied to Evgeny Lebedev – the ridiculously titled “Lord Lebedev of Hampton and Siberia” – as there have been to other Russian oligarchs.
The Sub-Standard’s true colours have been well-known for some time. So Scully can expect to receive sympathetic coverage from the failing central London paper.
Last night, they reported that Scully “believes Mr Khan’s expansion of the ultra-low emission zone to the Greater London boundary in August, plus a near £40 Council Tax hike and a 6per cent hike in Tube and bus fares – both of which are due to be confirmed next week – will place him at greater risk of defeat”.
The context for Council Tax and fare increases – because the Tory government has insisted upon them – went unmentioned in this blatant piece of campaigning on behalf of Scully.
Scully won Sutton and Cheam for the Tories from the Liberal Democrats in 2015. He has previously run a consultancy business based in central Croydon.
The Standard’s summary of Scully’s qualifications to be the Tory mayoral candidate concede that he is not “a big hitter” and has “low recognition among the wider London electorate”, although he may have greater credibility as a candidate than the Conservatives’ two previous runners.
Mayor Khan has already been confirmed as Labour’s candidate in 2024, when he will be seeking a record third term following election wins in 2016 and 2021 when he brushed aside the feeble Tory candidates Zac Goldsmith and Shaun Bailey.
The anti-London Tory government has changed the voting system at the London elections to the less-democratic first-past-the-post system, while also introducing a requirement on voters to produce ID at polling stations, a move widely seen to deliberately discriminate against the poor and Labour voters.
The paper said of Brexit-supporting Scully, “… who has served as Minister for London under the premierships of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, believes he can appeal to the Tory stronghold vote in outer London”.
It added that, “He said he had not been approached by party leaders and asked to run.”
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