Reform UK London Mayor candidate says ULEZ ‘blade runner’ vandals are ‘good, decent, honest people’

By Staff

The Reform UK candidate to become London Mayor has said anti-ULEZ vigilantes known as ‘blade runners’ are ‘good, decent, honest people’. Howard Cox, a businessman and campaigner told MyLondon that he supports their ‘frustration’ at Sadiq Khan’s August expansion of the £12.50 charge for the most polluting vehicles into Outer London, but he does not support breaking the law.

He also claimed that they had tried to gain his support, but he rejected their advances. Mr Cox said, whilst enjoying a pint of beer in the Shipwrights Arms outside London Bridge station earlier this week: “I don’t support the way they’ve done it, but I certainly support their frustration and anger.

“Of course I don’t support breaking the law, it’s ridiculous. They know that, they’ve tried to get me on their side and I refuse to be with them in that sense. I know some of them, and they’re good, decent, honest people, by the way. They’re just so sick to death.”

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about London elections candidates, when it is and new rules

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Named blade runners because the vandals have used a cutting tool to sever wires and even entire metal posts to put ULEZ cameras out of action, the vigilantes have drawn a mixed response from Londoners. A six-year-old girl was injured in a crash that happened shortly after a traffic light pole holding a ULEZ camera was cut down in Orpington.

On camera ‘blockers’, who park vehicles or hold signs in front of TfL’s ANPR devices to restrict their view, he said: “I actually do support that approach – I’ve got no problem with that.” But Mr Cox added that he has ‘never’ taken part in this sort of action himself.

Reform UK’s pick for the city’s highest office has vowed to scrap the ULEZ altogether if he is elected. Mr Cox – who drives a hybrid car – also says he would scrap the LEZ.

He would, however, keep the Congestion Charge with a view to disbanding it later. Mr Cox claimed City Hall’s Labour incumbent had been ‘dishonest’ as to the number of people dying prematurely because of air pollution.

The mayor’s stance as his policy was rolled out in the summer was that every year 4,000 Londoners die early from air pollution. Mr Cox also claimed that two out of three who took part in the public consultation over the ULEZ expansion ‘said they didn’t want it, and he [Mr Khan] ignored it and went ahead and did it’.

He said 20mph limits would also be scrapped if Reform were to win the mayoralty, except in certain places, such as outside schools.

Asked if his policies meant he was advocating dirtier air, Mr Cox said: “Of course I’m not […] Clean fuel technology has evolved. A lot of the older vehicles are now off the road.” He then claimed that lower speed limits cause more emissions, and said that ‘we need to incentivise clean fuel technology’ instead.

Promise to scrap entire ULEZ

He was also critical of Susan Hall, the Conservative Party’s candidate, suggesting that she would scrap the ULEZ ‘donut’ in Outer London, and not the zone in the centre of the city, and ‘keep the cameras’. Mr Cox added that, before he was announced as Reform’s choice for mayor, Ms Hall had tried to convince him to join her and campaign against the expansion of the £12.50 fee.

But, he then became a ‘persona non grata’. Mr Cox added: “Susan has been in opposition to Sadiq Khan for seven to eight years, even to the extent of leading the Conservative opposition, and she’s allowed Khan to get away with what he got away with.

“If I was in opposition, I would have definitely, definitely taken legal action against Sadiq Khan because there’s so many different aspects of his policies which frankly are tantamount to being unlawful, illegal or whatever the word is.”

When presented with Mr Cox’s comments, a London Labour source told MyLondon that the mayoral election is a ‘close two-horse race’ between Mr Khan and the ‘hard-right’ Conservative candidate who ‘couldn’t be more out of touch with our city and its values’, referring to Susan Hall. Ms Hall’s team were asked for a response to Mr Cox, but a spokesperson declined to comment.

List of candidates

Here is a list of all those standing for mayor:

  • Shyam Batra, independent

  • Count Binface, independent

  • Rob Blackie, Liberal Democrats

  • Natalie Campbell, independent

  • Howard Cox, Reform UK

  • Amy Gallagher, SDP

  • Zoe Garbett, Green Party

  • Tarun Ghulati, independent

  • Susan Hall, Conservative

  • Sadiq Khan, Labour

  • Andreas Michli, independent

Read our full exclusive interview with the current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, ahead of May 2 here. You can also read MyLondon’s interview with the Tory candidate, Susan Hall, here.

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