UK

David Mellor 'swore at taxi driver' during route row

David Mellor and Lady Penelope Cobham Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption David Mellor accompanied his partner Penelope, Lady Cobham, at an event at Buckingham Palace before taking the taxi

Former Conservative cabinet minister David Mellor has been secretly recorded having a heated row with a London taxi driver, a newspaper has reported.

He was recorded swearing at the driver and arguing about the best route to take, according to The Sun.

Mr Mellor called the man "stupid" and told him to "shut up", the newspaper said. He also recounted some of his lifetime achievements.

Mr Mellor told the paper the driver had "seriously provoked" him.

'Just shut up'

Mr Mellor got into the taxi with partner Penelope, Lady Cobham, outside a restaurant in Marylebone High Street, central London, at 17:50 GMT on Friday.

The couple wanted to go five miles to St Katharine Docks, east London, and were charged £29, the paper said.

In the recording Mr Mellor, 65, who served as national heritage secretary in Sir John Major's government, is alleged to say: "You don't know as much about London as I do."

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Media captionFormer Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie: David Mellor "an absolute ocean-going idiot"

He adds: "You've been driving a cab for 10 years? I have been in the cabinet, I am an award-winning broadcaster, I'm a Queen's Counsel, you think your experiences are anything compared to mine? Just shut up.

"Drive me whichever way you want, and keep a civil tongue in your head."

'Seriously provoked'

Mr Mellor also accuses the man of ruining Lady Cobham's day. Earlier on Friday Lady Cobham, who is chairwoman of tourism body Visit England, had attended Buckingham Palace to be appointed a CBE for her services to tourism.

The driver passed the recording to the tabloid newspaper.

Mr Mellor resigned as heritage minister in 1992, blaming his departure on a constant barrage of hostile stories in the tabloid press.

He has developed a career as a radio broadcaster since losing his seat in the Commons in 1997.

Mr Mellor told The Sun: "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 the public to judge his actions."

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