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REES-MOGG: Mayor of London should be ‘nicer to London taxi drivers’ and stop closing roads to them

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Image credit: Rees-Mogg MP (Flickr Parliament UK CC2.0)

The Leader of the House of Commons encouraged the Mayor of London to be ‘nicer to London taxi drivers’ and not spend time making their lives ‘more difficult by closing roads’.

The Government official also said he was confident taxi drivers could ‘get through’ the latest dip in trade levels.

The comments came during Thursday’s Business of the House debate following concerns over falling work-levels once more due to the latest coronavirus restrictions put in place.

Thomas Tugendhat, Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, said in the House of Commons: “There are some people who will not be celebrating quite as much this Christmas as many of us would hope: taxi drivers.”

The MP said cabbies working for Castle Cars in Tonbridge or Relyon in Edenbridge have already seen a dip in trade over the past few days. Tugendhat went on to add that he is also aware that many others running cab firms have also seen an impact on the wider use of their business.

Tugendhat asked the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, whether he could look for time in the Government’s agenda to have a debate on the matter.

Rees-Mogg replied: “I think Disraeli called London taxi drivers “the gondoliers of London”, and I certainly take that view myself. They are fantastically hard-working and entrepreneurial, as are taxi drivers up and down the country.

"They are almost all individual small businesses. They work the hours that are required of them and they provide, as my hon. Friend says, a service that is absolutely essential. I encourage hon. and right hon. Members to support the taxi trade as far as they can.

“While I am at it, I encourage the Mayor of London to be nicer to London taxi drivers and not spend his whole time trying to make their lives more difficult by closing roads to them.

“There are obviously difficulties at the moment with people cancelling things because of the pandemic, but I am confident that taxi drivers will be able to get through this.

“They have got back to work, and trade did pick up prior to the omicron variant coming through. We should thank them for what they do. As regards a debate, I think that will be more in the bailiwick of the Chairman of the Backbench Business Committee, Ian Mearns.”


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