The mayor of London Boris Johnson waded into fresh controversy after a video showing him abusing a taxi driver - asking him to “f**k off and die – and not in that order” - surfaced.
The incident took place when Johnson, a keen cyclist, was riding down St John Street in Islington, North London, just after midnight on June 5. The video, shot by a passerby and released by Sun and Daily Mail newspapers, worsened the mayor’s relations with black-cab drivers over their opposition to the business operations of online cab booking service, Uber.
There has been a recent row between the black-cab drivers and the Conservative party over the extent to which Uber was being allowed to do business in London. Johnson is tipped as a future leader of the Conservative Party.
According to reports, the black-cab drivers claim Uber does not pay taxes and uses unlicensed drivers. The black-cab drivers claim, The Guardian reported, that the strategy of Uber is to undercut the prices of the licensed trade and then after destroying that trade raise its prices, with a monopoly and a lower level of service.
Reportedly, when Johnson was returning home after attending a dinner, the cabbie saw him and decided to heckle him over the Uber issue.
In the video, the driver leans out of his cab window and gesticulates vigorously with his hand, saying, “You’re one of them, mate.”
The mayor then replies and tells the cabbie, “Why don’t you f*** off and die – and not in that order.”
A source close to the mayor told the media: “I believe this particular cabbie 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.”
The general secretary of LTDA (Licenced Taxi Drivers Association) laughed off news, media reports said.
Watch the video here