There’s no such thing as bad publicity, goes the old saying. Uber might disagree.
Lately the ride-hailing company has come under fire for everything from allegedly tolerating a culture of sexual harassment to CEO Travis Kalanick fighting with an Uber driver over compensation and declining fares.
Now a Monday report from the Daily Mail says that in 2015, David Cameron, then prime minister of the UK, lobbied then London Mayor Boris Johnson to let Uber operate in the metropolis.
Back in April of 2015, Uber faced protests by drivers of London’s black cabs about the company wanting to operate in the city. Initially, Johnson supported the taxi industry’s fight against Uber, but he later backed off.
According to the Daily Mail, emails and other documents obtained by the publication under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Daniel Korski, an aide for Cameron, had Cameron’s authority to push Johnson to stop attacking Uber.
If the allegation against Cameron is true, it raises questions about what financial and personal motivations the ex-prime minister may’ve had for wanting Uber to operate in London, as well as what ties his office may’ve had with the company.
Uber says it had support throughout London in 2015. A spokesperson for Uber said, “More than 200,000 Londoners signed a petition in autumn 2015 against plans for things like five minute minimum waiting times. [Such plans] were also condemned by consumer groups, the media, and even the Competition and Markets Authority.”
Downing Street and the London Mayor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.