Well well, there's a turn-up for the books. A bit of political scandal sees Liam Fox unseated as Defence Secretary. Who would have thought it. So why the comment in a cycling tome on the matter? Folks, it's time to wave goodbye to Mr Richard, sorry, Phil, Hammond. The erstwhile Transport Secretary is off to fill Liam's shoes (does a batboy generally come with the position?); all of which musical chairs means that we have a new minister in charge of the area which can have the greatest impact on the day-to-day dealing of cyclists.
The question is, does the Rt Hon Justine Greening suffer from the same belief that somehow electric cars will cure congestion in our cities?
A Tory MP since 2005, she represents Putney and practically wallows in a majority of just a smidgen over 10,000. She appears to be pretty well thought of in her own party as well, having been given responsibility for the Tory campaign in London for the last general election. She's repaid that faith: before being part of the goverment she actually rebelled in 29 out of 925 votes; since coming to power she has yet to break her rebellious duck in 319 votes (and as a current minister is probably unlikely to do so anytime soon) (source: publicwhip.org.uk). Her attendance at votes seems pretty high as well, 71.8% before coming to power; rising to 84.8% since coming to power.
And to top it all off, during the expenses scandal, she came out pretty rosey, having the 599th lowest annual claim out of the 645 MPs.
So what about knowledge and voting on transport issues? Well, it seems she's a proponent of the High Speed rail link, but there's little other evidence in voting records as to her stance on sustainable transport. Perhaps someone who actually lives in her constituency could fill us in. Her own website (click here) makes the point that she takes the underground to work (someone get her on a Boris Bike!); and she voted against the third runway at Heathrow, so there is perhaps a genuine environmental streak hidden away in there.
There's little else on the site (naturally there are local campaigns, but that's to be expected, MPs are supposed to be voted in to represent the people of their constituency); but we hope that in the coming weeks and months we'll learn more about Ms Greening, and just where her sympathies may lie. It's always good to know who the Transport Secretary is when you're a daily cyclist, and also that her site reckons she's contactable (click). Watch this space as we keep tabs on how the new era is being ushered in.
In the meantime we wish Phil Hammond good luck in his new job. Those new Hovertanks must be just around the corner.