A Tory in the running to take on Sadiq Khan at the next London mayoral election has insisted the Labour incumbent is beatable.
Conservative MP Paul Scully said there is “palpable anger” at Mr Khan’s decision to expand the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) to outer London.
The Sutton and Cheam MP said he decided to throw his hat into the ring to be the Tory candidate due to a “sense of frustration watching the Mayor at close quarters and deflecting rather than delivering and blaming everyone else”.
Asked if he believes Mr Khan is beatable, Mr Scully told the Express: “I do. There’s real anger in outer London with the ULEZ extension which is just not taking residents with him. The people feel it’s a step too far.
“In terms of inner London, they’re seeing their children can’t get houses, they’re worried about crime.
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“Essentially not doing the day job. He thinks this is his town, it’s his role, rather than he’s doing it to serve people. People are noticing that now.
“So there’s a good chance, it’s a difficult backdrop, I’d be the underdog. But when people are looking at how London could be so much better, they’ll be talking about the fact it’s the greatest city in the world, but it can be greater still. People are missing out on that.”
Mr Scully added that Mr Khan – who is eyeing up a third term in City Hall – has spent much of the last seven years “either virtue-signalling or deflecting from his inaction, blaming everybody else rather than delivering”.
He said: “I’m really proud of my background as being half Burmese, my dad came over from Burma and I’m very representative of London in that regard. But just talking about that doesn’t get any houses built or save a life on the street or keep Londoners moving.”
On his plan to beat Mr Khan, Mr Scully said he would be “upfront” with people on what they are “missing out on in terms of delivery”.
He said: “We need a positive change, we need someone who can deliver. So it’s getting out and about and absolutely hammering home the change that is possible.”
If he wins his bid, Mr Scully said reversing the controversial ULEZ expansion would be “victory speech stuff” before he focuses on the core areas of housing, police and transport.
The zone is set to increase to cover outer London from August 29, meaning more drivers will be forced to pay the £12.50 daily charge for the most polluting vehicles in a bid to improve air quality.
He said: “It’s palpable the anger people are feeling. But then for me its always just about stripping everything back and getting on with the core job of the Mayor. The main things – housing, police and transport – so really focusing on those.”
Mr Scully said he would build more houses but would “get that balance right so you take local residents along with you”.
On policing, he said he would get more bobbies on the beat but would also ensure “continual” vetting.
He said: “What that does is give the public confidence and starts to restore trust. But it also restores the morale of the many thousands of police officers who are doing a great job but worry they are being affected by the people who really have no place in being a police officer.”
Mr Scully has paused his activities as Minister for London and is among nine names who have put themselves forward to run on the Conservative ticket.
He said: “This isn’t a career choice for me, this is a sense of frustration watching the Mayor at close quarters and deflecting rather than delivering and blaming everyone else.
“I think I’m the best man to beat Sadiq Khan at the ballot box and deliver for Londoners.”
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