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MP calls for Southampton City Council to strip the licences of brawling cabbies
TAXI drivers who admitted launching a violent attack in a Southampton pub should be stripped of their licences, an MP has said.
Conservative Caroline Nokes has urged city council chiefs to get tough with the drivers after a constituent protested that they had returned to their jobs.
The Romsey and Southampton North MP has written to the chairman of licensing as the council investigates the men's convictions earlier this month.
She said: “It is my hope the council will send a message that offences of this nature are not compatible with the ‘fit and proper person’ test.
“Indeed, if these drivers had previous convictions for violence in my opinion they should never have been granted a licence in the first place.
“The safety of the public must be the council’s prime concern and those who have committed violent offences should not be allowed to work as taxi or private hire drivers.”
Southampton Crown Court was told how drinkers brandished pool cues and wielded bar stools when a mass brawl broke out at the Dorchester Arms in Onslow Road after a row over who was going to buy the next round.
Gurmit Singh Roath, his two sons Jaswant Singh and Satnam Singh Roath and his nephew Shakti Singh Roath all launched violent assaults, which were caught on CCTV.
Satnam and Jaswant, of Bassett Avenue, Southampton, and Shakti, of Bitterne Road East, Southampton, were given nine-month sentences, suspended for 18 months after pleading guilty to affray. Gurmit Singh Roath, who was diagnosed with cancer in November and has been severely ill ever since, will be sentenced next month.
Southampton City Council has confirmed a final decision on their futures as taxi drivers will be made after Roath’s sentencing when its licensing sub-committee will meet to decide whether to revoke their licences or not.
At Westminster Ms Nokes raised the issue in discussions on the Deregulation Bill, which is examining changes to the review period for taxi driver and private hire licences.
She said: “The Government is seeking to standardise review periods. However, there must be adequate opportunities to review and revoke the licences of drivers who have been convicted of criminal offences, especially sexual offences and violence.”