Five new MPs have joined the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) following the loss of one of its key members after the elections, and the group is calling for more members. The group's patron and keen cyclist, Ben Bradshaw, also announced last week he will run for the Labour leadership.
The APPCG is looking for new members, especially where MPs are newly elected, after co-chair Julian Huppert, who was widely commended for successfully campaigning for cycling in Westminster, was voted out in Cambridge this month.
Kit Malthouse (Con), Heidi Alexander (Lab), Ruth Cadbury (Lab), Mark Spencer (Con) and Daniel Zeichner, Huppert's Labour replacement in Cambridge, have joined the group, which promotes cycling within the Houses of Parliament and beyond, and organises the annual Parliamentary bike ride.
The APPCG's patron, Ben Bradshaw, announced last week he will stand as Labour Leader. Bradshaw says he hasn't felt as passionate about many issues as he does about cycling and has criticised the piecemeal, "hotch-potch" approach taken to cycle funding in this country.
During a debate on the government's widely criticised cycling delivery plan, he said: "If we met the targets that our report set for 2025 of 10% of journeys by bike, up from a derisory 2% in England at the moment, we would save £8 billion in health expenditure. If we reached continental levels of 25% of journeys made by cycling by 2050, which was our other target, we would save £25 billion for the health service."
Kit Malthouse (Con) replaces famous Parliamentary cycle campaigner Sir George Young MP, aka the Bicycling Baronet, who did not stand for re-election in North West Hampshire. Now in his mid-70s, Young founded the Parliamentary bicycle pool in 1979, and long supported the APPCG, including as a member and then patron. Malthouse, who was Boris Johnson's Deputy Mayor thanks cycling for cementing his relationship with his now wife.
New APPCG member Heidi Alexander (Lab) once said "it is incumbent on employers and the planning department in councils, where they are considering new developments, to find a way to make cycling easier and more convenient for people".
The APPCG thanked Huppert for his support for cycling over the last five years. Huppert was the Lib Dem cycling spokesman, including during the big pre-election cycling debate and was instrumental in getting the £10 per head per year pledge into the Lib Dem manifesto, making them the only major party to make such a commitment. Huppert also saw a landmark commitment to long term funding and planning for cycling included the Infrastructure Bill, the first such commitment made for cycling in England.
Re-elected were APPCG Treasurer Sarah Wollaston (Con) in Totnes, Chair Ian Austin (Lab) in Dudley, and Vice Chairs Steve Brine (Con) in Winchester, Fabian Hamilton (Lab) in Leeds North, Meg Hillier (Labour and Cooperative) Hackney South and Shoreditch, Jason McCartney (Con) Huddersfield.
APPG Secretary Lord Berkeley retains his seat as a life peer in the House of Lords.