David Cameron’s senior assistant secretly helped keep Uber cars on London’s roads

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Revealed: David Cameron’s senior assistant secretly helped keep Uber cars on London’s roads two years before Downing Street launched a lobbying campaign to protect online taxi company

  • Daniel Korski lobbied the Greater London Authority after an Uber licensing complaint
  • Mr Korski urged Kit Malthouse to ‘investigate the Uber case and see what we could do’
  • Critics said intervention exposed Uber’s influence on Cameron’s government

A senior assistant to David Cameron secretly helped Uber nearly two years before Downing Street launched a lobbying campaign to protect the online taxi company, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Emails reveal how Daniel Korski, one of Mr Cameron’s special advisers, lobbied the Greater London Authority – then headed by London Mayor Boris Johnson – after Uber complained it was risking his license to enter the capital. to operate, to get rid of.

Mr Korski urged Kit Malthouse, then the Deputy Mayor of London, to ‘investigate Uber’s case and see what we could do’. Critics said last night that the intervention exposed Uber’s influence on the Cameron administration.

Daniel Korski urged Kit Malthouse, then London’s deputy mayor for businesses, to ‘investigate Uber’s case and see what we could do’

Emails reveal how Daniel Korski, one of Mr Cameron's special advisers, lobbied the Greater London Authority

Emails reveal how Daniel Korski, one of Mr Cameron’s special advisers, lobbied the Greater London Authority

Taxi boss asked for a ‘private lift’

During crunch talks with Transport for London last year, Uber asked for a “ private elevator ” for its millionaire CEO.

Dara Khosrowshahi met then-transportation commissioner Mike Brown in January 2020 over a dispute over whether the online taxi company should be allowed on the capital’s roads.

Two months earlier, Uber had been banned in London and a court had yet to hear its appeal when news of the meeting with two men leaked. Emails indicate that Mr Khosrowshahi’s security team visited TfL headquarters four days before the meeting and asked to “isolate an elevator for the visitors if possible.” This was rejected.

After the meeting, an Uber security guard emailed a junior TfL employee thanking him for helping us organize the visit, adding, “ I have something for you as a thank you for all your help. ‘ The email led to a complaint to police from taxi drivers for fear of bribery, but a detective discovered that the TfL employee had only been given a tie clip, which was reported as a gift.

Last night, TfL said the meeting “did not pertain to regulatory activity and was documented.” Uber said, “We have an ongoing dialogue with TfL on a wide variety of issues.”

The former Prime Minister and George Osborne were faced with persistent questions about their 2015 efforts to lobby Mr. Johnson against introducing a set of proposed curbs on Uber.

The mayor and his aides received angry messages of No. 10 and ‘candid texts’ from the then Prime Minister and his Chancellor. Rachel Whetstone, a girlfriend of Cameron’s then, was a senior Uber manager at the time.

Internal emails show that lobbying for Uber started earlier than previously thought.

The online taxi company had been allowed to drive on London’s roads in May 2012, but in 2014 Transport for London launched an investigation into whether it complied with private rental vehicle laws.

In particular, there were concerns that smartphones used by drivers to pick up customers were acting as taximeters, the use of which is prohibited on private rental cars. On January 3, 2014, Corey Owens, then Uber’s head of global policy, emailed a senior State Department diplomat in San Francisco with the warning that “ TfL has threatened to revoke our license to operate in London. ” .

The diplomat forwarded the email to another senior official who raised Uber’s concerns asking, “Do you have any advice on how we can help or someone they can talk to about this?”

That day, Mr. Korski sent an email to Mr. Malthouse and Julian Glover, a special adviser in the Department for Transport.

“May I ask you to take a look at a problem Uber appears to have with TfL?” He wrote.

Seven months later, TfL decided not to revoke Uber’s license, which benefited expansion in the capital.

Grant Davis, chairman of the London Cab Drivers Club, who obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information laws, said last night, “ These emails confirm that David Cameron’s office ensured that Uber had a clear path to get into London. to operate. The impact this has had on what is considered the best taxi service in the world is nothing short of devastating. ‘

Mr. Korski declined to comment.

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