The general election result has sent shockwaves through the British political establishment, producing a hung parliament that few predicted even as polling stations closed at 10pm last night, the exit polls that came out immediately afterwards giving the first hint of a dramatic night ahead.
Cycling may have received scant mention in most parties’ manifestoes – if at all – but we decided to take a look at the fate of some of the most pro (and, yes, anti) bike candidates who were seeking election.
The co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) were both re-elected – Labour’s Ruth Cadbury with a big majority in what had been the marginal seat of Brentford & Isleworth, and Conservative Alex Chalk who fought off the challenge of a resurgent Liberal Democrat vote in Cheltenham.
Other APPCG members also securing re-election included vice chairs Meg Hillier (Labour, Hackney South & Shoreditch) and Steve Brine (Conservative, Winchester), treasurer Dr Sarah Wollaston (Conservative, Totnes), patrons Ben Bradshaw (Labour, Exeter) and Ian Austin (Labour, Dudley North – with a majority of just 22), and officer Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East).
Two outgoing MPs noted for their anti-cycling policies lost their seats however.
One was David Burrowes, the Tory MP for Enfield, who made his opposition to the London borough’s Mini Holland scheme a central pillar of his campaign.
The other was Labour Stoke-on-Trent MP Rob Flello, who claimed earlier this year that levels of air pollution were increasing because road space was being given over to cyclists rather than cars due to the building of separated infrastructure.
In Cambridge, Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert, who was co-chair of the APPCG alongside Austin when the Get Britain Cycling report came out in 2013, hoped to regain the seat from Labour’s Daniel Zeichner who had won it two years ago.
But Zeichner, a former shadow transport minister who was defending a majority of just 599, secured a thumping victory in what is the UK’s leading city for cycling as he was returned with an increased majority of 12,661.
Huppert is edged out of being our favourite defeated pro-cycling candidate, however, by Lord Buckethead, who stood against Prime Minister Theresa May in Maidenhead and whose manifesto included a pledge to provide “Free bikes for everyone, to help combat obesity, traffic congestion and bike theft.”
After losing her overall majority in an election called to provide her with a mandate for “strong and stable” government and expected to result in a resounding Tory win, May has been on the phone to Northern Ireland today discussing the possibility of a coalition with the DUP.
We thought we’d better check their manifesto to see what the Conservative Party’s potential coalition partners had to say about cycling – nothing, as it turns out (ditto bicycle, cyclist, bike etc).
We shouldn’t be too surprised – after all, the bicycle hadn’t been invented in 1690.
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.