Sadiq Khan facing code of conduct probe over Ulez ‘far-Right’ comments

Sadiq Khan is to be investigated for possible breach of the City Hall code of conduct in relation to comments he made prior to the expansion of the Ulez across Greater London.

The Greater London Authority’s monitoring officer, Rory McKenna, has decided to appoint an independent investigator to look into complaints received about the mayor from Nick Rogers, a Tory member of the London Assembly, and other individuals.

These relate to the consultation run by Transport for London last summer, which found two-thirds of respondents opposed the expansion, and Mr Khan’s knowledge of the responses during the 10 weeks the consultation was open.

Mr Rogers claimed that Mr Khan “knowingly made false and dishonest statements” to the London Assembly last October and November in relation to what and when he knew about the consultation results.

Mr Khan admitted to the assembly that there was a “working summary” of the consultation responses but denied being given the final results prematurely.

The mayor was subjected to detailed questioning on the issue from Tory assembly member Peter Fortune last October and November.

Critics of Mr Khan remain angry that he decided to give the go-ahead for the Ulez expansion across Greater London despite a majority of respondents to the consultation being opposed.

Mr Khan has previously said the consultation was “hijacked” by pro-motoring campaigners, including people living outside London.

Mr Rogers, transport spokesman for the City Hall Conservatives, first made the complaint in January. He submitted more than 200 pages of documents, including files obtained under freedom of information, to support the allegations.

The complaint from Mr Rogers claimed that Mr Khan misled and made “false and dishonest” statements to the London Assembly over what he knew about the responses to the Ulez consultation.

The Ulez expanded Londonwide on August 29 to widespread controversy, with more than 500 enforcement cameras having been vandalised or stolen.

A third part of Mr Rogers’ complaint, that mayoral aides improperly used City Hall resources to “interfere with the Ulez expansion consultation process to skew the results in the mayor’s favour”, is not being investigated.

Sources told the Standard that the investigation would also look into a People’s Question Time public meeting in Ealing in March, during which Mr Khan said Ulez opponents were “holding hands” with the far-Right.

At the Ealing meeting, a group of protesters were seen outside with signs that depicted the Mayor with a swastika and a hammer-and-sickle symbol.

During the meeting, Mr Khan responded to heckles from the audience by saying: “What I find unacceptable is some of those who’ve got legitimate objections [about Ulez] joining hands with some of those outside, who are part of a far-Right group.”

This prompted some audience members to shout back: “We are not the far-Right — normal people are not the far-Right.”

It is understood that Mr Khan’s comments at Ealing resulted in separate complaints, from unidentified complainants, being made to the monitoring officer.

Mr Khan is typically subject to a number of complaints each year, mostly from political rivals. Some are thrown out at an early stage, while others progress to the investigation stage.

The decision to appoint an independent investigator does not mean there has been a presumption of wrongdoing.

Previous complaints against the mayor, such as in relation to the departure of former Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and the opening of the Elizabeth line, have not been upheld.

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “The mayor has always been clear that expanding the Ulez was a difficult but necessary decision, and he’s been listening closely to those with concerns. The mayor looks forward to the outcome of the monitoring officer’s investigation.”

Mr Rogers said: “I believe the evidence clearly shows that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, made misleading statements to the Assembly and to Londoners over the Ulez expansion consultation; specifically that he told us repeatedly that he had no knowledge of how it was progressing.

“The City Hall monitoring officer has now taken forward the complaint I made against Sadiq Khan over his conduct during the implementation of his London-wide Ulez expansion.

“Londoners will feel vindicated that the complaint made against the mayor is being taken seriously and will be independently investigated.

“He should now do the right thing, listen to Londoners and cancel his Ulez expansion immediately.”

In his first mayoral term, Mr Khan was reprimanded by the monitoring officer for a press release which claimed there was appalling incompetence and infighting in Theresa May’s Government, and for discussing his re-election plans in an interview with Pink News that was done in his City Hall office.