Steerpike Steerpike

No, David Lammy: plumbers can’t just hop on the Tube

David Lammy (Credit: Getty images)

If Sadiq Khan has his way, drivers of old cars will soon be stumping up £12.50 every time they get behind the wheel in London. Much to the outrage of Londoners, the Labour mayor has grand plans to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone across the whole city in several months’ time. But for plumbers and window cleaners worried about how the daily charge will affect them, David Lammy has some advice: they should hop on the train.

Lammy was challenged by Nick Ferrari on LBC yesterday as to how tradesmen and women could travel around London once the Ulez prices them out of using their vans.

Lammy answered: ‘One thing we have got is a fantastic transport system across London. Fantastic buses, fantastic tubes.’ Ferrari then shot back, ‘Well, not if you’re carrying ladders as a window cleaner!’

Ferrari then continued, ‘If I’m a gas fitter, I’ve got all my tools behind me in my van. I can’t start trundling on the tube with those, can I?’

But Lammy persisted, ‘And that’s why you’ve got to allow people the period of time in which to change their vehicles, to get up to date.’

Mr Steerpike wonders: could it be that Labour has misunderstood the plight of the working man (and woman)? Many Londoners may well be thinking the same thing this morning: perhaps it’s time for Sadiq Khan, rather than hard-pressed plumbers, to get on his bike…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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