London mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled as effigy for Kent town’s bonfire night

The public in Edenbridge voted for Mr Khan because of the unpopularity of extending the Ulez scheme.

Anahita Hossein-Pour
Wednesday 01 November 2023 11:30 GMT
Members of the Edenbridge Bonfire Society unveil their latest celebrity guy of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at Breezehurst Farm Industrial Park, Edenbridge, Kent, ahead of the town’s bonfire night display on Saturday. Picture date: Wednesday November 1, 2023.
Members of the Edenbridge Bonfire Society unveil their latest celebrity guy of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at Breezehurst Farm Industrial Park, Edenbridge, Kent, ahead of the town’s bonfire night display on Saturday. Picture date: Wednesday November 1, 2023.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has been unveiled as the effigy for a Kent town’s bonfire night because of his “unpopular decision” to extend the capital’s charge for polluting vehicles.

The public in Edenbridge opted for Mr Khan to be the 11-metre guy as London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (Ulez) hits residents and businesses in the town and offers “no support” for them.

The zone, which operates within the M25 across all London boroughs, is about nine miles from Edenbridge.

The effigy shows Mr Khan holding a Ulez sign and £15-tickets for London New Year’s Eve fireworks event, with various traffic signs on his clothing.

Edenbridge Bonfire Society, which has organised celebrity effigies for 25 years, aims to bring a “light-hearted twist” to their annual bonfire celebrations, which raise thousands of pounds for local charities and community groups.

The Edenbridge guy has become a highlight of the bonfire season with previous public figures put for ridicule including Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins, Russell Brand, Jonathan Ross, Katie Price, Lance Armstrong, Anne Robinson and Saddam Hussein.

Mr Khan was chosen by popular demand over other 2023 contenders such as Suella Braverman, Russell Brand, Phillip Schofield and Harry and Meghan.

The Ulez scheme first launched in 2019 to help clean up London’s air, and it discourages drivers from using the most polluting vehicles by charging them a daily fee to enter the zone.

Edenbridge Bonfire Society chairman, Bill Cummings, said: “This year we have chosen Sadiq Khan whose decision to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone has affected many people living and working in our town.

“Unlike those living inside the new extended zone, there is no support for people who live outside it but whose livelihoods and commitments have been greatly affected by this decision.”

On November 4, nearly 10,000 people are expected to travel from London, Surrey, Kent and Sussex to attend the biggest event in the Edenbridge calendar.

Mr Khan’s effigy will be paraded through Edenbridge High Street in a torch-lit carnival procession involving 550 people.

Edenbridge Bonfire Society has been celebrating bonfire night for 95 years and even featured on Pathe News clips dating back to the 1950s.

Winston Churchill is one of several famous figures to have opened the Kent town’s bonfire night celebrations.

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