Black Cab Drivers Storm City Hall as Boris Johnson Kindles Uber Taxi Row

By Gerald Lynch on at

London's community of black cab drivers has again been embroiled in a row with Mayor Boris Johnson, as the two parties came to blows over technology's increasing influence over the capital's taxi trade.

A protest regarding unfair licensing laws saw some 300 drivers congregate outside City Hall today. At the same time, Boris Johnson was fielding questions as part of his scheduled Mayor's Question Time within the governmental building. When asked about the introduction of electric cabs in the capital, Johnson began to reply "Can I just say to all the Luddites in the room who don't want to see new technology..."

This comment, seemingly referencing the ongoing dispute between cab drivers and booking app Uber, sent the collected drivers in the public gallery into uproar, resulting in the meeting being disrupted and temporarily halted. It then is reported by the Evening Standard that soon afterwards, 30 drivers from the protest outside forced their way into the building, pursued by police, knocking unconscious a member of City Hall's security staff in the process.

"I don't think Boris's Luddite comment was the smartest of moves but it escalated out of all proportion," said Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association.

"From then on it all went downhill, a perfect storm of misinformation, chaos, bad management and bad over-reaction."

Watch the exchange in the video below. [Evening Standard]