Sadiq Khan uses cavalcade of cars to drive 4.5 miles to walk his dog
Sadiq Khan displayed rank hypocrisy on Saturday after he was pictured using a cavalcade of cars – including a gas-guzzling Jaguar – to take his dog for a walk.
The Labour Mayor of London has spent years railing against car owners and has repeatedly badgered drivers to stop taking unnecessary, short journeys.
His office issued an alarming report last Monday warning that car pollution was endangering the lives of 3.1 million children in England – and praised the Mayor’s policies to cut emissions.
But three days later, the politician was seen being driven with his wife Saadiya and dog Luna in a convoy of three vehicles, including a £75,000 petrol-driven Jaguar, which has a five-litre V8 engine, a £50,000 diesel Volkswagen people-carrier, and a Volvo hybrid petrol-electric SUV worth £50,000.
Staggeringly, the Mayor was driven to Battersea Park to walk his dog – despite living just a few hundred yards from one of London’s largest commons in Tooting, South London.
Two days earlier, Mr Khan had criticised car journeys, tweeting: ‘Time is running out to stop a climate catastrophe – and London’s road to recovery from the pandemic cannot be clogged by cars.’
Mr Khan, 50, set out for his walk on Thursday afternoon with his wife and yellow labrador, before he was seen in a diesel-powered VW Caravelle.
The Jaguar, which clocks up just 13.8 miles to the gallon in the city, was in the convoy with the Caravelle, which does 36 miles per gallon. The more environmentally friendly Volvo was at the head of the fleet.
In heavy traffic, the cars crawled past Tooting Bec Common and began a bumper-to-bumper journey through South London towards Battersea that lasted 25 minutes.
The 4.5-mile journey would have taken the Mayor along some of the capital’s most congested roads before arriving at Battersea Park at 2.25pm. After sweeping into the historic 19th Century park, Mr Khan, his wife and Luna took their leisurely stroll, with the Mayor’s security team following close by.
Later, the Mayor, his wife and the dog got back into the VW people-carrier and were ferried back in another 25-minute journey in heavy rush-hour traffic.
Khan’s trip to walk his dog would have cost taxpayers an estimated £1,500 once the cost of his five-strong protection team and use of the vehicles is factored in.
Mr Khan, who is paid £152,000 a year, is the son of a London bus driver and has continuously called on drivers to leave their cars at home and take public transport such as buses and Tubes, or walk and cycle short journeys.
His crusade to cut pollution has led to plans to widen London’s low emission zone (ULEZ) in October to charge £12.50 a day for older, polluting vehicles to drive into the centre of the city. It is estimated that some 350,000 motorists in the city will be hit by the changes.
Last year, Mr Khan raised the Congestion Charge by 30 per cent from £11.50 to £15 a day and extended it to include weekends. His office initially claimed it was a temporary price hike during the pandemic, but it was made permanent last month.
He was first elected in 2016 and won a second term in May, promising to cut air pollution in the capital by slashing the number of vehicles on the roads. In April, Mr Khan told a Sunday newspaper: ‘Where you can give up using cars, I would encourage that.’ Two months ago, he tweeted: ‘Too many car journeys in London cover very short distances – we need alternatives.’