, LONDON, Nov 27 – Britain’s Sun newspaper on Wednesday launched a campaign to ban former Conservative minister David Mellor from London taxis until he apologises for a foul-mouthed rant at a cabbie.
The high-circulation tabloid printed a cut-out-and-keep notice for taxi drivers stating: “The following are strictly forbidden in this taxi — Smoking, Drinking, Eating, David Mellor.”
The notice features a mugshot of the former cabinet minister — at the centre of a high-profile sex scandal in 1992 — inside a red circle with a red line through his head, apeing the no-smoking sign.
On Friday, Mellor launched an abusive rant laden with class snobbery and expletives at a taxi driver, accusing him of taking an excessively long route to his home.
He was on his way back from Buckingham Palace with his partner, Lady Penelope Cobham, who had been decorated by Queen Elizabeth.
Quotes secretly recorded by the unnamed driver and printed by The Sun included “Who are you to question me?” and “I’ve been in the cabinet. I’m an award-winning broadcaster, I’m a Queen’s Counsel — you think that your experiences are anything compared to mine?”
Mellor, who lost his parliamentary seat in 1997, also told the driver to “get an education”, in a tirade that started over the best route to his home.
“Mr Mellor made me feel like something he’d found on the bottom of his shoe. He spoke down to me like I am second-class citizen,” the driver told The Sun.
The newspaper says the campaign to ban Mellor, who has forged a career as a radio broadcaster, from taxi cabs will continue until he says sorry.
“This man seriously provoked me and ruined a wonderful day. Once I had lost my temper, which I regret, he then secretly recorded me. I will leave to the public to judge his actions,” Mellor told The Sun.
The issue of snobbery linked to class is a sore point for Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, which has long faced accusations of elitism because of the high number of wealthy and privately educated MPs among its senior ranks.