Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Minister for cycling Norman Baker leaves DfT in reshuffle, Maria Eagle loses Labour shadow transport role

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Kramer and Tory MP Robert Goodwill join DfT team

Minister for cycling Norman Baker is to move from the Department for Transport (DfT) to the Home Office following today's ministerial reshuffle. Labour's Maria Eagle has lost her position as shadow transport secretary, being replaced by Mary Creagh - the pair swap roles, with Ms Eagle moving to Ms Creagh's former post as shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary.

The new shadow transport secretary Ms Creagh is a cyclist, and in May last year hit the headlines when she was 'bumped' from behind by a minicab while riding her bike in London - the vehicle in question being operator by controversial minicab firm Addison Lee, boycotted by cyclists earlier in the year as a result of anti-cyclist comments made by its chairman, John Griffin.

Replacing Mr Baker as the Liberal Democrat minister at the DfT is Baroness Kramer, who as Susan Kramer was MP for Richmond Park from 2005 to 2010, when she lost her seat to the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith at the general election. She will be minister of state at the department.

Also coming into the DfT as parliamentary under secretary of state - the same level of position Mr Baker held - is Robert Goodwill, the Conservative MP for Scarborough & Whitby.

Yesterday, the other parliamentary secretary of state at the DfT, Conservative MP Simon Burns, resigned so he could contest the vacant position of deputy speaker of the House of Commons.

It's unclear at the moment whether Baroness Kramer will take on Mr Baker's full portfolio including responsibility for cycling, although British Cycling said on Twitter it looks forward to working with her and thanked the outgoing minister for his work.

A former banker, the Liberal Democrat peer remains director of a business she set up with her husband that provides advice on infrastructure projects in Central and Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, former justice minister Helen Grant, who last year met with representatives of British Cycling, CTC and other organisations to discuss the investigation, prosecution and sentencing in road traffic cases where vulnerable road users including cyclists are the victims, becomes the new sports minister.

She replaces Hugh Robertson, and British Cycling said: "We look forward to working with Helen to further Britain's growth as a nation of cyclists."

Today's reshuffle has not extended to Cabinet level jobs, so Patrick McLoughlin remains secretary of state for transport.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband howeverhas overhauled his front bench team, with Maria Eagle, who outlined Labour's support for cycling at the party conference in Brighton last month rbeing replaced by Mary Creagh, the former shadow transport secretary Ms Eagle apparently being moved as a result of her support for HS2.

According to The Times, Ms Creagh wrote to Addison Lee chairman Mr Griffin in the wake of that incident in May last year - she was unhurt - telling him: “I was interested to hear you a few weeks back on Radio 4, saying that your minicabs should be allowed into bus lanes.

“Perhaps you would be interested to hear my experience of one of your drivers today? I was at the junction of Bloomsbury Square and Tottenham Court Road, which is left turn only for vehicles, with an exception to go straight ahead for cycles. The lights changed and the road was blocked by a bus. I was on the right hand side of one of your vehicles and behind a van which could not move because of the bus.

“The lights changed back to red, the van ahead of me curled around the corner but I decided to wait at the red light rather than risk crossing the road as my sight line of any oncoming traffic was obscured. Your driver bumped into the back of my bicycle.

“When I observed that the lights had changed to red some five seconds earlier, he shouted and yelled at me.

“It was the first time I had been bumped in well over ten years. I am a slow, careful cyclist with excellent hand signals and always make eye contact with drivers.

“It was certainly an interesting experience to be barracked for obeying a red stop light when driver mythology has all cyclists down as light-jumping lunatics. Based on today’s experience, your drivers’ reputation for careful driving may be just as much of a myth.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

Latest Comments