Sadiq Khan is urging the Government to let TfL introduce a byelaw mandating face coverings on public transport in London, according to reports.

Since the easing of lockdown on July 19, mask wearing has been a ‘condition of carriage’ on London’s transport network, but not a legal requirement.

Enforcement officers are unable to distribute fines but can deny access or eject passengers found to be non-compliant while using the transport network.

The Mayor wants refusing to wear a mask on public transport to be a criminal offence, as it was previously, to reduce the risk of Covid spreading.

This Is Local London: Sadiq Khan (PA)Sadiq Khan (PA)

Speaking on the BBC Newscast podcast, he said: “We are trying to lobby the Government to allow us to bring in a bye-law, so it will be the law again, so we can issue fixed penalty notices and we can use the police service and BTP to enforce this.

“Public transport is safe. What gives people even more confidence is if they know people are wearing face masks.

“We need people to be coming back to the West End. We want to encourage people to return to their offices. They are not going to do so if they don’t feel public transport is safe.

“I’m hoping the government understands, on the issue of public safety and public confidence, we want to be able to use the law to make sure people do wear face masks in spaces where you can’t keep your social distance for obvious reasons.”

Byelaws can be enforced by councils or other public bodies using powers granted by an Act of Parliament. 

TfL's ban on drinking alcohol is enforced by a byelaw, meaning people who flout the rule can be fined. 

While Mr Khan said that 86 per cent of passengers continue to follow the rules on mask-wearing, he stressed the need to increase the confidence of commuters. 

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