Party committee chair who last year called for "mass extermination" of cyclists apologises for latest remarks...

A senior member of the Liberal Democrat party who last year called for a “mass extermination” of cyclists has said that London’s Cycle Superhighways are “a complete waste of taxpayers’ money” and that “cyclists do not belong in towns.” He has since apologised for any offence his remarks caused.

Robert Woodthorpe Browne, who has stood for election to Parliament on a number of occasions and is chair of his party’s international relations committee, shared his views on the capital’s new cycling infrastructure in a post to Twitter yesterday which appears to have been subsequently deleted.

Woodthorpe Browne tweet.JPG

One Twitter user asked Lib Dem leader Tim Farron whether Woodthorpe Brown’s views reflected those of the party and was told they did not.

Another user of the social network suggested Woodthorpe Browne visit Cambridge, the city with by far the highest levels of cycling in the UK.

Dr Julian Huppert, who was Lib Dem MP for Cambridge from 2010-15 during which period he was co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group which three years ago published the Get Britain Cycling report, outlined why cyclists do belong in towns, and invited Woodthorpe Browne to contact him.

This afternoon, Woodthorpe Browne posted an apology for yesterday’s tweet, although some might see an element of party PR spin at work.

Last year, when asked to explain his anger at a BBC London tweet linking to a report that 25,000 cyclists were set to take part in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive, he said his aversion to people on bikes could only be cured “by mass extermination or uninvention of [the] bicycle.”

The remark, made to a former Lib Dem councillor from Cambridge, may have been tongue in cheek, but has come under the spotlight again in the light of Woodthorpe Browne’s latest anti-cyclist comments.

A reinsurance professional who is junior warden of a City livery company and who also sits on the board of the Royal Institute of International Affairs – commonly referred to as Chatham House – Woodthorpe Brown has sought election as an MP on several occasions.

He has unsuccessfully stood against ex-prime minister Tony Blair as well as former cabinet ministers Michael Portillo and Alan Clark. At last year's general election, he was the Lib Dem candidate for Staffordshire South, coming fourth with 2.9 per cent of the vote.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.