Published: 03/02/2012 16:28 - Updated: 03/02/2012 17:28

UKIP wades in on Muslim taxi driver row

A UKIP politician has told the Advertiser he will support a blind man’s complaint about a Muslim taxi driver who allegedly refused to let his guide dog in his cab.

Blind journalist Sean Dilley with Chipp
Blind journalist Sean Dilley with Chipp

Stuart Agnew MEP said today (Friday February 3) he would be writing to the taxi licensing authority North Herts Council in support of registered guide dog user Sean Dilley.

Sean was lodged a complaint with the authority saying that a taxi driver refused take him and his guide dog Chipp from Letchworth Sports and Tennis Club to the rail station on Sunday.

The driver refused to let the Stevenage man's dog in the car on the grounds of his Islamic faith. 

Mr Agnew said: “I have written to North Herts Council and I am pressing them to review the licences of both the driver and the company if they persist in such discriminatory behaviour.

“Being a Muslim does not give anyone an excuse to break the law and leave a blind person stranded.”

Sean is a freelance broadcaster and parliamentary lobby correspondent for talkSPORT and last year made a film for the BBC’s Daily Politics show highlighting how many businesses and restaurants refused entry to guide dogs.

He believes that the driver was breaking disability discrimination law by refusing to take them.

"I have a lot of energy and I know the law, and yet I find battling this sort of thing exhausting," he told the Advertiser earlier this week.

"There must be many elderly or vulnerable people who can’t do that and just put up with it.

"Often it’s difficult to prove what happened though but this time we’ve got video evidence of what happened."

The Advertiser has been unable to contact the taxi driver and Gary’s Taxis, who the cab driver works for, said only: "It’s a matter between the council and the driver."

Earlier, Cllr Bernard Lovewell, the council’s portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said: "We are currently investigating a complaint regarding an alleged incident with a North Herts licensed hackney carriage driver and a customer with a guide dog.

"Until we have concluded the investigation we cannot comment further.

"We would like to reassure residents that council-licensed taxi drivers should not refuse a blind or partially sighted person from getting in to their taxi on the grounds that they wish an assistance dog to accompany them."

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