Sadiq Khan was branded a “conman” by a furious lorry driver who heckled him over his Ulez expansion during a live debate.
The Mayor of London was answering questions from the public alongside Martin Lewis, the money expert, during a cost of living session at City Hall on Thursday.
But an audience member was escorted out by security after shouting at him for extending a £12.50 daily charge for polluting drivers to cover all 32 London boroughs from August this year.
Currently, the Ulez (ultra-low emission zone) scheme only covers central London boroughs, and applies to vehicles that do not meet required European emissions standards.
The mayor is facing a mounting backlash, with four London boroughs - including Bromley and Hillingdon - considering legal action, and Croydon vowing to refuse to place Ulez-fining cameras on its lampposts.
The furore was laid bare on Thursday when Angie Donnelly, a 58-year-old lorry driver, interrupted Mr Khan's session while shouting: “You’re not a mayor, you're not a people person, you’re a conman.”
She was escorted from City Hall by security guards while stunned audience members watched on. The event continued, with Mr Khan making no reaction.
“You’re not a mayor - you’re a conman” Sadiq Khan has just been heckled over the ULEZ expansion by 58 year old lorry driver Angie Donnelly. She was then escorted out of the cost of living event at City Hall with Martin Lewis @LBC @LBCNews pic.twitter.com/xQA4rJhEc8
— Charlotte Lynch (@charlotterlynch) February 2, 2023
Speaking afterwards, Ms Donnelly told ITV: “It's people who can't afford to live and can't afford to dress their kids yet he wants to extend it down there. Why?
“You've got people that live in Thurrock (in Essex) and if they want to visit their loved ones' graves in Upminster (in the east London borough of Havering) they've got to pay £12.50, it's disgusting.”
It comes after it emerged at the weekend that some patients may be exempt from paying Ulez, while those working in the NHS would not be.
Richard Holden, the roads minister, told LBC that Tory MPs and councillors were “apoplectic” about Mr Khan's decision, which is designed to combat air pollution in the outer boroughs of the capital.
But hitting back at the growing criticism, Mr Khan has compared opponents of the Ulez scheme expansion to those who criticised the smoking ban, and vowed to not delay its rollout.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Khan said: “I compare those Conservatives opposing Ulez to those who opposed taking action against the tobacco companies and those that opposed banning smoking in public spaces.
“These same people, by the way, denied climate change 20 years ago and did want to take action because they denied it, and they now want to delay action against climate change.”
Leaked consultation results revealed last October that two-thirds of respondents oppose the controversial expansion.
Transport for London estimates that around 160,000 cars and 42,000 vans will be required to pay the charge when it is extended, and it could raise as much as £400 million a year for the mayor.