Sadiq Khan says mayoral election is ‘neck and neck’ as he unveils new green plan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he does not believe the polls and the mayoral election is “neck and neck” between him and Conservative opponent Susan Hall.

Polls put the incumbent mayor on firm course to secure a historic third term at the elections on May 2.

During a visit to a school in Stoke Newington in north London Mr Khan and shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband announced a 10-point climate action plan for the capital.

Climate action plan for London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband, walk past solar panels installed on the roof of Stoke Newington School in north London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Miliband said Ms Hall being elected mayor of London would be a “global embarrassment for Britain”.

During their visit to the school, which has had solar panels fitted to lower energy bills, Mr Khan and Mr Miliband met staff and pupils and discussed green policies at school.

Mr Khan said the potential for a Labour mayor of London and a Labour government was a “moment of maximum opportunity”.

He told the PA news agency: “Over the last eight years we’ve been running against the tide of a Tory government that don’t want to take action on these issues. This year, May 2 first, and then later on this year is what I call a moment of maximum opportunity.

“We could have a Labour mayor and a Labour government, rather than running against the tide of a Tory government, we will be sailing with the winds of a Labour government at our backs.”

Asked if he would be able to deliver on promises made in the course of his campaign in the event of a Conservative win at the next general election, Mr Khan said the 10-point climate action plan would be deliverable, but that he had been clear what pledges would not be.

He said: “So my 10-point plan today we can do, God forbid even if there isn’t a Labour government, I’ve made clear during the campaign which of my promises we can do even with this lot, and which promises I could do with a Labour government.

“In relation to the polls, I lived through 2016 when everyone told me we would vote to remain in the European Union, I know how that movie ended.

“I remember watching the US elections and was told that Hillary Clinton was going to win, I know how that ended. Theresa May in 2017 had a 20-point lead three weeks before, we know how that election ended with her being in coalition with the DUP. I simply don’t believe the polls.

“Particularly with voter ID and with the voting system changing – this is a neck and neck election between me and the hard right Conservative candidate. I’m asking all Londoners who want a mayor who is going to build a greener, safer, fairer London to lend me their vote on May 2.”

Climate action plan for London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced a new climate action plan for London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Now in the running for a third term as London mayor, Mr Khan declined to say if he would run for a fourth in future.

He said: “This election is not about making history, it’s about shaping our future.”

The Mayor’s new climate plan includes delivering a 100% zero-emission bus fleet in London by 2030, putting air pollution filters in primary schools, providing more than 40,000 new public bike parking spaces by 2030 and more than doubling the number of electric vehicle charging points to 40,000 by 2030.

He has also pledged to help schools reach net zero, boost the programme to make homes and offices more energy efficient and expand the successful School Streets initiative to reduce air pollution by restricting car access outside schools during drop-off and pick-up.

The climate pledges also include creating jobs in green industries, increasing investment in walking and cycling, and planting more trees and creating new green spaces.

Climate action plan for London
Sadiq Khan and shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Miliband said Ms Hall being elected mayor of London would be a “global embarrassment for Britain”.

He told PA: “I’m here to support my friend Sadiq Khan in his campaign to be re-elected as London mayor and he’s announcing today a really exciting set of plans, for example, to put more solar panels on school roofs across London that will help cut energy bills for schools, more money for the front line.

“And it goes to the big choice in this mayoral election, it’s a two-horse race between Sadiq, a climate leader, and Susan Hall the Conservative candidate, a climate denier and delayer and frankly, if Susan Hall was elected as mayor of London, it would be a global embarrassment for Britain, which considers itself a climate leader.

“It would empower and embolden the anti-net zero, flat earth brigade across the world, and people have to realise that because the Tories have changed the rules in the way in which people vote in this election. You only get one vote, and a vote for anyone other than Sadiq risks letting Susan Hall in by the back door.”

Climate action plan for London
Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband, during the visit to Stoke Newington School (Victoria Jones/PA)

Prior to his visit, Mr Khan said: “I’m proud of what we’ve done in London to tackle air pollution and the climate crisis. It’s not been easy – I’ve faced resistance and pressure from many quarters.

“But it was the right thing to do and has proven to be very effective, with roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution cut in half across London, and saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions.”