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UBER FILES: London Assembly Member ‘not totally surprised’ by scandal engulfing Uber

A leading London Assembly member has told TaxiPoint they were ‘not totally surprised’ by the Uber Files scandal engulfing the ride-hail industry and global politics.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member, also called for more to be done when it comes to access given to lobbying companies.

More than 124,000 confidential Uber documents were leaked to the Guardian and other news outlets including BBC Panorama, which has demonstrated the full extent of Uber’s global lobbying powers and more locally its efforts to twist regulation in London.

The documents confirmed many of the things noted in the taxi trade about its aggressive tactics, since it first entered the market over a decade ago.

The leaked files show how the company exerted influence over UK government ministers and advisers, including George Osborne, Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock, in off the book meetings, and hired close personal friends like Rachel Whetstone and Lynton Crosby to help them gain access to the top levels of the Cameron Government, ultimately preventing the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, from clamping down on Uber and its damaging operating model.

Caroline Pidgeon said: “The revelations about the global lobbying activities of Uber are useful, but I am not totally surprised by the revelations from the Guardian and BBC Panorama. Some aspects of the extensive lobbying activities by Uber in the UK have long been known about, especially the access that they were granted by 10 Downing Street, past Government Ministers and special advisers due to extensive freedom of information requests.

“My immediate reaction is that far more transparency is needed over the access given to lobbying companies. It should not take leaks of information or even freedom of information requests for the full details of the access given to Uber to be in the public domain.”

More details relating to the thousands of leaked messages are expected to be released in the coming days.


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