A millionaire former Cabinet Minister has been branded "pompous' after being caught on tape ranting at a taxi driver, calling him a "smart-arsed little git" and a "sweaty, stupid little shit."
David Mellor has said he regrets what he has termed "losing his temper", after being recorded launching an expletive-ridden tirade at the cabbie following a visit to Buckingham Palace with his partner who had just been awarded a CBE.
Mellor, a QC and former Conservative MP, made sure to tell the cab driver how vastly superior he was to him during a fierce argument about the route he wanted to travel on Friday.
The ex-Tory, who had accompanied his partner, VisitEngland chairman Viscountess Penelope Cobham, to an Investiture ceremony with the Prince of Wales, was heard in a mobile phone recording given to The Sun.
David Mellor with his partner Penelope Cobham at Buckingham Palace when Cobham collected her CBE
The paper reported that Mellor, who served as national heritage secretary in Sir John Major's government, accused the driver of not taking the quickest route to their destination in east London during rush hour.
During the audio, Mellor, who told the driver to "fuck off", threatened to name him and discuss the incident on his LBC radio show, which he co-presents with former London Mayor Ken Livingstone on Saturday mornings.
"I don't want to hear from you, shut the fuck up," he said.
"You've been driving a cab for 10 years, 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?"
"Just shut up," he added. "Drive me whichever way you want, and keep a civil tongue in your head."
Despite Mellor's boasts of grand accomplishments, others reacted to the explosive recording with less than admiration:
Mellor also accused the taxi driver of "ruining his wife's day".
"See what you've done to her," he said. "She's telling me I've ruined her day. YOU fucking ruined her day. She's been at Buckingham Palace, she's seen Prince Charles, received a major award, and you, smart-arsed little git, have ruined her day. Are you proud of yourself?"
Mellor told The Sun the driver, who is not named but is described as a 38-year-old from south east London, had provoked him.
"This man seriously provoked me and ruined a wonderful day," he said. "Once I had lost my temper, which I regret, he then secretly recorded me. I will leave the public to judge his actions."
But Mick Cash, general secretary of transport union the RMT, reacted to the news by calling Mellor "pompous."
"Driving a taxi in London is hard enough without having some pumped-up, pompous former Tory minister telling you how to do your job," he said.
"If you want an example of the political elite's sheer contempt for the working class then this incident has it in shed-loads."
The London taxi branch of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said it was to consider a formal boycott of the former Tory minister.
General secretary Mick Cash said: "It is no surprise that our black cab members across London are considering a boycott of the Tory toff David Mellor over his outrageous, pompous and disgraceful tirade against one of their colleagues.
"His sneering and snobbish verbal assault says it all about the elite that run this country and their attitude towards the working classes that they expect to transport them.
"Taxi drivers have a tough enough job already, dealing with ill-conceived and damaging regulations handed down by the mayor Boris Johnson, confronting illegal touting and navigating around the congested streets of London and at least the Mellor tirade has poured some light on the kind of aggravation our members experience day in and day out.
"To subject a taxi driver to a volley of aggressive abuse, and threatening to use his position to name the driver on his radio show, is frankly disgusting and intimidating and has distinct echoes of the Plebgate row. RMT is in consultation with our taxi members over the possibility of a boycott of this obnoxious and abusive character."
GMB professional drivers branch president Simon Rush called for a public apology from Mellor, adding: "Whatever the reason for this loutish verbal attack on a working person by this politician, it is unacceptable behaviour, not only on the road but in any workplace. This is not the first time we have seen arrogance and conceit from Mr Mellor. A public apology from Mr Mellor is in order.
"It doesn't seem to matter how long you have been a fully qualified and experienced taxi or private hire driver, some of your passengers think they know better than you do.
"People are using their mobiles to tell you which route to follow and sadly this often leads to abuse of the driver. The implication is that you are dishonest when in fact you will be taking the quickest route based on your accumulated knowledge of all the factors such as time of day, traffic flow, road works etc, none of which the maps software will take in to account."
Mellor has previously been branded "repellant" for calling a child abuse victim "a weirdo."
He resigned in 1992, blaming his departure on a constant barrage of hostile stories in the tabloid press.
His resignation followed the revelation that Mona Bauwens, the daughter of a senior member of the Palestine National Fund, had paid towards his holiday.