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#Ubergate – MP’s Andy and Wes apply more heat!

Labour’s Andy McDonald and Wes Streeting ask questions of David Cameron’s ‘Chumocracy’

Following revelations in the national press this week regarding David Cameron and George Osborne’s involvement in the licensing of Uber in London, two MP’s have asked questions of the ‘chumocracy’ behind it.

In a House of Commons debate on the 30th March, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport questioned the Government’s Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, asking:

“Three years ago the Law Commission recommended wholesale reform of taxi and private hire services, but the Government have not responded. Uber proliferates, but it pays no VAT and the country loses a fortune in avoided corporation tax. The former London Mayor was sat on when he tried to bring Uber to heel, despite the denials of his Bullingdon club friends. A No. 10 adviser, lo and behold, now runs Uber. Is it not time that we saw some urgent action from the Secretary of State on the taxi and private hire industry and, while he is at it, on the way in which his party runs its chumocracy?”

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In his reply the Secretary of dodged the issue of #UberGate siting ‘consumer choice’ before pushing the issue back to local licensing authorities including London…

“Given the current state of the Labour party, I am not sure I would go down that road if I were the hon. Gentleman. We are currently looking at what is the best approach to the future regulation and structure of our taxi and private hire services. I see it as a particular priority to ensure public safety. We and local authorities are doing that work, and we want to deliver the right framework for it. Our job is to ensure that we have the right choice for consumers and the right options in our marketplace, but we also want to protect those parts of our industry, such as London black cabs, that are a national institution and that none of us would wish to see disappear. This is about a measured approach. Of course, some of the most evocative issues lie in the hands of the London Mayor and not of this Government.”

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Following the Shadow Secretary’s question in the House of Commons, Labour’s Wes Streeting MP – who is currently chairing an all party parliamentary group looking at taxi private hire services – tweeted that he had written to the Prime Minister and current Tory party leader Teresa May regarding Uber and Cameron & Osborne’s time in office.

In the letter, Wes asked about the relationship between the office of No10, Boris Johnson and Uber. He also called for a review of private hire and taxi regulation in light of the current situation with cross-border hirings. Raising safety concerns and fair working conditions for drivers.

Unite calls for Uber lobbying inquiry

Unite the union has echoed calls for an inquiry Tory party lobbying for Uber.

Commenting on Unite Live, Mike Hedges chair of Unite’s national cab section said,

“There needs to be a full inquiry into what appears to be an ‘Uber’ lobbying effort by senior Conservative figures on behalf of the Uber app.

“The whole affair raises serious questions over the deregulation act which was passed on David Cameron’s watch, when George Osborne was chancellor and Boris Johnson was Mayor of London.

It’s clear from last week’s press coverage that the original licensing of Uber was far from straightforward. Although David Cameron has since left office, two of the three protagonists in this story remain as senior Tory party figures. Given the utter chaos that they have caused by  the licensing of Uber combined with the Deregulation Act, they should come clean about what happened at the time and submit freely to a Transport Select or Parliamentary Standards Committee inquiry.

Posted by Peter Rose @peterjrose1

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