Published: 16:34, 24 March 2021
| Updated: 09:17, 25 March 2021
The government confirmed it does not support the proposal for an outer London congestion charge being investigated by the Mayor of London's office.
During a Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday, which was led by Dartford MP Gareth Johnson, transport minister Rachel Maclean voiced the government's concern over the plans.
She said: "This would be a border tax levied on people outside London by a Mayor they were not able to vote for or, indeed, vote out.
"I am a firm believer that there should be no taxation without representation, as such a move would fly in the face of the Mayor's supposed mantra that London is open.
"For that reason, I put it on the record that this is an idea that the government do not support."
The proposal would see all vehicles registered outside of London charged £3.50 every time they cross the boundary into the capital.
Opening the debate, Mr Johnson said the charge would be "catastrophic."
He added: "The Mayor of London's proposal to charge drivers to enter Greater London would have a catastrophic impact on places like Dartford and all the areas surrounding London.
"It would also have a detrimental impact on outer London boroughs.
"Businesses located in outer London boroughs would suffer from people being reluctant to travel the – often short – distance across the border to use that particular business. "
Mr Johnson said more than 26,000 people have signed a petition against the idea and that if this proposal were to go ahead it would have the most profound impact of any governmental actions.
He continued: "It will be taken by somebody who Dartfordians have absolutely no control over.
"The London Mayor knows that the ring of seats around London, with the exception of Slough, are conservative.
"He also knows that, generally, outer London areas – there are some exceptions – are more likely to vote conservative than inner London seats.
"He knows who he is hitting with this idea. It is the most divisive issue ever conceived by a London Mayor and it needs to be stopped.
"It will have a profound impact, not just on the counties around London, but on the outer London boroughs. It is an abuse of power and it needs to end."
Following the debate Mr Johnson said he was pleased the Government has confirmed its position.
He said: "I'm pleased to hear the government is opposed to this proposal and I hope the strength of feeling against this plan, which has been illustrated through the petition and this debate, means the idea will be scrapped altogether."
A spokesperson for London Labour said: "Londoners pay hundreds of millions of pounds in Vehicle Excise Duty every year which is spent on roads outside London.
"In the aftermath of the financial challenges for TfL caused by Covid-19, the Mayor will have no choice but to look at other options such as a small boundary charge if the Government refuses to give London back its fair share.
"For the avoidance of doubt - no Londoner would have to pay the boundary charge were it to eventually happen."