Saturday, April 08, 2017

Dagenham and Rainham MP calls for investigation into David Cameron’s relationship with Uber

Jon Cruddas has written to Prime Minister Theresa May questioning her on alleged ties between former PM David Cameron and private car hire firm Uber.

The Dagenham and Rainham MP wrote to the PM about revelations published in several newspapers last month which suggested Mr Cameron and Uber put pressure on City Hall not to toughen up on regulating the car-hailing app.

He wrote: “I am certainly not opposed to disruptive technology and competition, but Uber’s conduct in London and other cities around the world has raised serious issues in terms of fair competition, workers’ rights, passenger safety and fair corporate taxation.

“It is alleged under your predecessor, David Cameron, that Uber had undue levels of access to the very top of government and this was used to influence policy in government and at City Hall in London under the previous Mayor Boris Johnson.”

Mr Cruddas claimed to have been “inundated with emails” from constituents about the matter.

According to the reports, both Mr Cameron and former chancellor George Osborne texted Mr Johnson asking him to drop proposals that would have helped black cab drivers fight against a growing tide of private-hire cars.

Among those proposals were five minute minimum waiting times and mandatory English tests.

Ajit Chambers, an advocate on behalf of black cab drivers, designed an e-petition which enabled drivers and constituents to email Mr Cruddas and other MPs to ask for a public inquiry into the alleged ties.

Mr Chambers said: “A public inquiry will allow the legal investigation into a number of individuals who have allowed Transport for London to attempt to get rid of the black cabs.”

Mr Cruddas called for an investigation into the alleged ties.

He wrote: “I do agree there is an urgent need to review the regulatory framework governing the taxi and private hire industry in London and other towns and cities across the UK in the interests of fair competition, passenger safety and decent working conditions for drivers.

“I am concerned that the conduct of the administration led by your predecessor may have hampered fair and impartial consideration of the issues by giving undue access and preference to one operator at the expense of an entire industry.

“My constituents would be grateful for your assurance that you will investigate the relationship between David Cameron, George Osborne, and Uber, and make public any findings.”

Uber declined to comment on Mr Cruddas’ letter, although a spokesman said: “More than 200,000 Londoners signed a petition in autumn 2015 against plans for things like five minute minimum waiting times.

“They were also condemned by consumer groups, the media, and even the Competition and Markets Authority.”

A government spokesman said: “We are aware of concerns regarding the increase in the size of the private hire market and the impact of new and innovative ways of working on traditional business models.

“The government supports choice for consumers and wants to see both taxis and private hire vehicles prosper.”

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