Abu­sive cab­bie tirade a ‘re­turn of ser­vice’

MP re­fuses to aplo­gise for ob­scene re­sponse to driver

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Steve Bax steve.bax@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

Uxbridge Gazette, Stoke Mill, Wok­ing Road, Guild­ford GU1 1QA

ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@ trin­i­tysouth.co.uk BORIS John­son has re­fused to apol­o­gise for a foul-mouthed tirade against a taxi driver.

The Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip MP was filmed last week telling a cab driver who ac­cused him of fail­ing to pro­tect Lon­don’s black cab in­dus­try to “f*** off and die”.

It is thought the row was over the ac­tiv­i­ties of the App-based mini­cab book­ing ser­vice Uber whose ac­tiv­i­ties have led to protests by black cab driv­ers over what they see as un­reg­u­lated com­pe­ti­tion.

Mr John­son in his ca­pac­ity as Lon­don Mayor is seek­ing to limit the num­ber of mini­cab op­er­a­tors in the cap­i­tal but has faced crit­i­cism over Uber from cab­bies and po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

The driver re­port­edly told Mr John­son, 51, who was cy­cling at the time of the in­ci­dent on June 5: “You’re one of them mate. That’s what you are. One of them.”

The MP and Mayor was caught on cam­era fir­ing back: “Why don’t you f*** off and die? And not in that or­der.”

Af­ter­wards he de­fended his ac­tions to Sky News, telling the TV sta­tion: “I think it comes un­der the head­ing of get­ting the ball back over the net. That’s what I would call it.

“It was a gen­tle at­tempt at a re­turn of ser­vice. That’s all it was.”

A close ally of Mr John­son told the Mir­ror: “Boris has dozens of chance con­ver­sa­tions with Lon­don­ers ev­ery week. Many are pro­duc­tive and friendly, some are colour­ful, I know most end hap­pily.

“I be­lieve this par­tic­u­lar cab­bie how­ever is a se­rial heck­ler. He of­fered Boris a few choice words. Boris felt obliged to of­fer him a few in re­turn. And off they went.”

Labour’s Lon­don Assem­bly trans­port spokesper­son Val Shawcross said the mayor’s foul lan­guage was not the real is­sue.

She added: “Our taxi in­dus­try is in cri­sis, and taxi driv­ers are in­cred­i­bly con­cerned about the threat to their liveli­hoods posed by pri­vate hire ve­hi­cles.

“The mayor has the power to put in place a strat­egy to tackle the chal­lenges fac­ing the in­dus­try. But so far he’s com­pletely failed to re­spond to any of our calls to do just that.”

n RANT: Uxbridge MP and Mayor of Lon­don Boris John­son

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