Labour MP Jon Cruddas has reiterated his opposition to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion, describing it as  “beyond the pale”.

The Labour parliamentarian for Dagenham and Rainham criticised the timing for expanding the zone to the outer London boroughs.

He claimed that the expansion should have been delayed until “we were on the other side of the cost-of-living crisis”, arguing that there is not currently enough public transport infrastructure to support the policy.

A Londonwide ULEZ zone is set to come into force on August 29, with the capital's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan claiming it is necessary to tackle air pollution and climate change.

Mr Cruddas, who is due to step down at the next general election, said that he understood the “pressing” need to improve air quality but believes that the ULEZ expansion will hit working people.

He added that he has been “non-partisan” on the issue, and that the expansion of the scrappage scheme to drivers not on means-tested benefits was welcome.

Mr Cruddas said: “The bottom line is that this should have been delayed until we were on the other side of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Dagenham and Rainham is home to many low-income workers who rely on their personal vehicles.

“The public transport infrastructure just isn’t there to support this policy – and with no Superloop bus offer and little else by way of investment it doesn’t appear to be on the way in areas like ours.

“Telling people to buy a new vehicle, forcing them to give up their jobs, potentially isolating elderly and vulnerable people who rely on family visits is beyond the pale.”

Mr Cruddas added that he would continue to campaign to improve air quality locally.

Labour leader Keir Starmer recently urged Mr Khan to “reflect” on the zone’s expansion after blaming it for the Conservatives’ victory in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election last month.

On announcing an expansion of the scrappage scheme earlier this month, Mr Khan said: “I have always said that expanding the ULEZ to the whole of London was a difficult decision, and not one I took lightly – but it’s a decision I remain committed to seeing through.    

“I’m not prepared to step back, delay or water down vital green policies like ULEZ, which will not only save lives and protect children’s lungs by cleaning up our polluted air but help us to fight the climate crisis."