Reform UK reveal Howard Cox as London mayoral candidate
Reform UK have revealed their car-loving candidate to take on Sadiq Khan in next year’s London mayoral election.
Howard Cox - the founder of the Fair Fuel UK campaign - pledged to scrap the entire Ultra low emission zone (Ulez) if he is elected, not just its expansion to outer London.
He has also promised to abolish Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) across the capital, as well as reducing crime and boosting the number of homes built.
Reform UK - formerly known as the Brexit Party - did not stand in the last mayoral election, instead throwing their weight behind the actor Laurence Fox, who went on to receive 1.9 per cent of the vote.
Mr Cox’s lobbying group, Fair Fuel UK, campaigns to reduce charges on diesel and petrol powered vehicles, most notably fuel duty. He says he has stopped more than £200 billion of planned tax rises to help keep fuel duty frozen since 2010.
The candidate claimed he had recieved “something like 10-20,000 emails saying ‘Please will you take on Sadiq Khan in London?’ Particulary regarding Ulez, LTNs, 20mph limits, cycle lanes, all those sorts of things - because they are really crippling Londoners”.
Asked whether he would even get rid of LTNs which local communities wanted to keep, he said: “It depends whether they’re benefitting businesses locally, and benefitting communities - they have to prove that to me.
“If that is really doing good for business and it’s good for all the local people, then yes, I’m open to keeping them.”
He added however that he was concerned about drivers across the country becoming increasingly seen as “pariahs, the devil incarnate” and “an easy cash target”.
Aside from driving-related policies, Mr Cox said he would “cut crime by having more bobbies on the beat, [and] also increase social housing”.
Mr Cox, who said he has voted Conservative all his life, said anti-Ulez voters would be better off supporting him over the Tory candidate.
“They’re not calling for a complete scrapping of the Ulez, they’re only talking about the extension... The Tories have lost the last two elections against Sadiq Khan, and I believe this time is enough,” he said.
In tweets last year, Mr Cox claimed “there is no climate crisis” and he has also said he is “convinced man is not responsible for global warming”.
He nonetheless said it was “unfair” for him to be labelled a “climate change denier”. He clarified that while he believed the climate is changing, he did not think that change represented a “crisis”.
There is a large scientific consensus that humans are the leading cause of climate change. In their latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated unequivocally that human activity is the cause of global warming.
The IPCC has said global warming is already “causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world”.
Richard Tice, leader of Reform UK, said: “London has just recently been announced as the slowest large city in the world. That’s a disaster. It’s a disaster for businesses, it’s a disaster for residents. We’ve got to get London moving again.”
He insisted the Conservatives should stand aside for his party.
“What I’m saying to the Tories is, if they stand a candidate, they’re the ones that risk splitting the anti-Khan vote...
“We did the right thing in [the general election of] 2019, we stood aside in many seats. It’s now time for the Tories to do the right thing and stand aside in London, so that the whole anti-Khan vote coalesces behind Howard Cox.”
The election is being held on May 2, 2024. Mr Khan has confirmed that he will be standing for a third term as Labour’s candidate.
The Green Party have revealed that they will be standing Hackney councillor Zoë Garbett, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have not yet selected their candidates.