Milton Keynes MPs hope tighter policy will stop licensing scandals

City MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart
City MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart

City MPs have welcomed plans for stricter national guidelines for the licensing of taxi and private hire vehicles.

Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster wrote to the Minister of State for Transport after it emerged MK Council had allowed a rapist to work as a city cabbie for three years.

The Tories addressed the “poor judgement” of committee members and former mayor Subhan Shafiq who gave a character reference for the sex offender.

This week the MPs were told the government is considering a draft bill of a national policy to stop varying standards in England and Wales.

Mr Stewart said he was pleased with the Minister’s response and would ensure “proper practices” are put in place. He said: “This has been a damaging event for Milton Keynes Council.

“The actions of a few have put many in danger.

“The government clearly understands the importance of taxi licensing and keeping passengers safe.”

The Law Commission’s draft bill was the result of research that found “widely disparaging guidelines” which meant rejected applicants could simply reapply for a licence in a neighbouring authority.

Mr Lancaster said: “I am delighted that the Government is already addressing the issue regarding a national policy of licensing for taxi and private hire vehicles.

“This will ensure that those with criminal convictions cannot take advantage of some local authorities more lenient guidelines when it comes to licences.”