Abusive cabbie tirade a ‘return of service’
MP refuses to aplogise for obscene response to driver
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