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  • Writer's pictureDavid Taylor

The ULEZ Files

Updated: May 7, 2023

I recently submitted a Freedom of Information Request to Havering Council, asking for copies of emails between Labour Leader Keith Darvill and HRA Leader Ray Morgon. I wanted emails where they discuss ULEZ.

Why? So we can see whether Havering was really ever going to fight Khan on ULEZ.

And boy, will the answer surprise you.

Or, maybe it won't.

I've put all the emails below, but here's what they show.

While you're here, please consider signing up to my regular emails, to ensure you get updates on what I'm doing as a Councillor, as well as the first look at reports like this.


Havering Labour Don't Oppose ULEZ

Well does this surprise anyone?

Keith Darvill (Labour Leader) wrote to Ray Morgon (HRA Leader) on 27th November. In his email, he pleaded with Ray to tone down the opposition to ULEZ saying

"The Labour Group believe that the introduction of the extension of ULEZ to outer London should be delayed"

Note they say delayed and not stopped

So at least we now have that in black and white. Havering Labour never opposed ULEZ in the first place. Now Ray Morgon has to keep Labour happy in order to keep his position as Leader of the Council. This is why he created a new cabinet post for Keith Darvill and it's clearly why Havering then took a softer approach to opposing ULEZ.

Labour clearly pull the strings in this coalition.

Labour Leader Keith Darvill emails HRA Leaders pleading for a softer approach

They want to work closer with Khan

This also shouldn't come as a surprise as every party wants to work closer with it's own senior elected officials. But, it shows Labour putting their party before Havering.

In his email, to Ray Morgon, Keith Darvill says:

"We we are keen to develop a closer relationship with the Mayor, the Deputy Mayors, and Assembly members"

" A strident message in our comms will make it more difficult to build the relationships which we believe are essential "

Again, this explains why Havering was so soft in our opposition to ULEZ.

This prioritising of party above residents is in stark contrast to local Conservatives. Romford MP, Andrew Rosindell, is openly lobbying the Prime Minister and Government. Despite the government already appearing to rule out over-turning ULEZ.

There comes a point in every politician's career when they must stand up for the residents before standing up for their party.

It seems that with ULEZ, both Labour and the HRA are willing to put a good relationship with Khan above fighting for the residents of Havering.

They gave up before the fight begun

In an email chain throughout August, Senior HRA councillors debated approaching other London Borough's to collaborate on a joint statement.

Graham Williamson (HRA / Independent) writes;

"Clearly, we need to contact these boroughs and indeed all outer boroughs to get them to sign, at least, a collaborative statement."

Not a bad suggestion Graham. We're stronger together.

Ray Morgon's reply? To bat away the idea as pointless.

"We could get to get a collaborative statement, although not sure what it will do in persuading the Mayor. I think that he pretty much knows that outer London will be against ULEZ"

HRA Leader Ray Morgon tells his own Cllrs it's not worth the fight.

The conclusion

There we have it. A tale of weak leadership, that puts relationships before principles.

Havering could have taken a stand and fought back against Khan, but we chose not to. I believe in good working relationships, but I also believe in fighting for my residents and fighting for what I believe in. I believe in being a strong opposition, not rolling over because I may want something from someone at a later date.

Labour clearly pulled the strings when it comes to Havering's ULEZ fight. Our Leader had clearly given up the fight. So much so that he batted away one of his own senior HRA colleagues.


Download the emails

FOI Combined
Download PDF • 452KB

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