Boris Johnson has refused to apologise for unleashing a four-letter tirade against a taxi driver, which was caught on camera.
Asked whether he was sorry for telling the cabbie repeatedly to 'f*** off and die', the London Mayor said on Sky News: "I think it comes under the heading of getting the ball back over the net. That's what I would call it.
"It was a gentle attempt at a return of service. That's all it was."
And yesterday, sources close to the Mayor attempted to smear the cab driver as a "serial heckler".
Mr Johnson cycled away from his £3.7million home in Islington, north London at around 10.20am before answering further questions.
He had been filmed by a passerby stopping his bike on June 5 after being accused by the passing taxi driver of failing to protect London's black cab industry.
The driver reportedly told Mr Johnson, 51: "You're one of them mate. That's what you are. One of them."
Mr Johnson was caught on camera firing back: "Why don't you f*** off and die? Why don't you f*** off and die? And not in that order."
A close ally of Mr Johnson said: "Boris has dozens of chance conversations with Londoners every week. Many are productive and friendly, some are colourful, I know most end happily.
"I believe this particular cabbie however is a serial heckler. He offered Boris a few choice words. Boris felt obliged to offer him a few in return. And off they went."
It is thought the row may have been over the activities of rival minicab booking service Uber whose activities have led to protests by London taxi drivers over what they see as unregulated competition.
Mr Johnson is seeking to limit the number of minicab operators in the capital but has faced criticism over Uber from cabbies and political opponents.
Today, Labour's London Assembly transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said: "The mayor's foul language gets in the way of the real issue here.
"Our taxi industry is in crisis, and taxi drivers are incredibly concerned about the threat to their livelihoods posed by private hire vehicles."
She went on: "The mayor has the power to put in place a strategy to tackle the challenges facing the industry. But so far he's completely failed to respond to any of our calls to do just that.
"The mayor could avoid further confrontation with the taxi trade if he bucks his ideas up and does something to address the bad practice undermining the industry."
Mr Johnson also caused a stir with comments he made about women in his latest Telegraph column, claiming it is a scientific fact that women cry more readily than men.
Story originally published by Mirror Online