Evan Davis reveals he was cruised by an elderly taxi driver

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BBC Newsnight presenter Evan Davis has spoken of his fondness for taxis in a feature about the recent faux pas of David Mellor.

The former Tory minister was this week recorded swearing at a driver and arguing about the best route to take.

In the recording Mellor, 65, who served as national heritage secretary in Sir John Major’s government, apparently said: “You don’t know as much about London as I do.”

He added: “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.”

The London Evening Standard published a feature of several celebrities sharing their views about the capital’s famous black cabbies.

Evan Davis, the gay BBC Newsnight presenter recalled: “Quite late on a Saturday night some years ago on Baker Street a cab went past with its light off. I put out my hand in hope and he picked me up. He was reasonably elderly, and gay. He sort of picked me up hoping it might be something, which it wasn’t.

“But we had a really interesting chat about gay life in London in the 1960s. It is useful to have political conversations with London cab drivers because they talk to a lot of people, they’re not afraid to speak out and they represent a big thread of down-to-earth thinking.

“You can try things out on them, they are a one-man focus group, and you will never meet again. I usually start the conversation, saying, ‘Do you mind me asking who you will vote for?’ I have never found one who is shy.”

Gay Tory 2016 London mayoral candidate Ivan Massow also shared his views about the capital’s cab drivers.

He said: “My abiding resentment of cabs comes from the days when black friends of mine have asked me to hail a cab for them while they hide in a doorway. On one occasion, when I was living in Islington, my black mate was outside hailing a cab after leaving my house. And he came in and said: ‘Can you hail it for me?’ This wasn’t just one occasion — I did it a lot for friends.”

Yesterday, in an interview with Gaydio, Massow suggested that gay men don’t know how to behave and said the capital’s gay scene had a “huge” problem with drugs.