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'Taxi ride with PM made my bad back worse'

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Richard Orange - [email protected]
'Taxi ride with PM made my bad back worse'
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg amuses his passengers - Labour Party

One of the passengers carried by Norwegian Prime minister Jens Stoltenberg in a taxi-driving election stunt has complained that her bad back was made worse by his terrible driving.

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Hilde Årdal, 52, suffers from a chronic rheumatic disorder which she says has worsened ever since Stoltenberg's taxi crashed to a halt when he mistook the brake for the clutch. 
 
Årdal, who was filmed laughing off the incident immediately afterwards, told the VG newspaper: “I usually have less pain in July than during the rest of the year, but this year it’s been hurting more than usual" .
 

Possibly fearing a backlash, the contrite leader called Årdal to ask after her health:

 

“He said he was concerned for me and upset,” she told VG. “It was a nice conversation.”

 

Årdal added that no apology was forthcoming from Norway’s leader. “But I didn’t expect one,” she added.

 

“I thought it was a fun thing, and I still think so. But I think those who organized it should have put more thought into passenger safety.” She said she had no plans to lodge a formal complaint.

 

Asked by VG about the incident, Stoltenberg blamed the fact that he was not used to driving a car with automatic transmission. He said he called Årdal as soon as he was informed about her pain.

 

“I called right away to see how she was. We talked about both the drive and her rheumatism, a disease I know well, as I myself have ankylosning [a kind of arthritis],” he told the paper.

 
The election video of Stoltenberg's shift as an undercover taxi driver became viral viewing worldwide when it was released on Sunday, but has since back-fired after it emerged that five of the seemingly random passengers were vetted and paid. 
 
 

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