James Grundy MP: By-election result was a clear message from the electorate

​In the early hours of last Friday, the political odds were overcome in a spectacular manner as the news broke that the Conservatives had held the semi-marginal seat of Uxbridge in the by-election caused by the resignation of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
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The bookies had given odds of 25-1 on that Labour would gain the seat but local Conservative councillor and retired postman Steve Tuckwell held the seat for the Conservatives literally against all the odds.

Whilst it is certainly true that many local residents still had warm feelings for their former MP Boris Johnson as shown by a constituency poll run by Lord Ashcroft in Uxbridge recently, it was quite clear that what won the day was one issue above all – ULEZ!

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The ULEZ, a flagship policy of London Labour Mayor Sadiq Kahn, is a proposal to extend London’s congestion charge to the entirety of London including, for the first time, areas such as Uxbridge.

Leigh MP James GrundyLeigh MP James Grundy
Leigh MP James Grundy

Readers may be familiar with such a concept as our own Labour mayor Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, proposed a very similar scheme – The Greater Manchester CAZ or ‘Clean Air Zone’ as it was described at the time which would have covered the whole of Greater Manchester including my Leigh constituency.

Thankfully the former MP for Uxbridge Boris Johnson, who was PM at the time, intervened after my question at PMQs in February 2022 to suspend the implementation of the GM CAZ which would have had a devastating impact both on local businesses, tradesmen and residents who would have faced charges for using certain vehicles, as well as up to 10 per cent price increases in local shops as a knock on effect of those charges.

Voters sent a very clear message to London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Kahn on Friday last week that they were not prepared to put up with crippling taxes for simply going to work.

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This was also a clear message to the Conservative government that they can win the next election if they listen to real voters’ concerns about what is hitting them in the pocket.

The electorate has also sent a wider message to the Labour Party that the next General Election is not a forgone conclusion for them and that if Labour seeks to impose new green taxes and other costs for hardworking families, they may find the number of votes in that strategy to amount to ‘Net-Zero’.

All in all a much needed bit of good news for the Conservatives and some strong guidance from the voters as to how we should govern from now on and also a stark warning to Labour that they cannot take the electorate for granted on issues of tax and spend.