Robert Goodwill, who moved to the Department for Transport in last week’s ministerial reshuffle, has been confirmed as the minister responsible for cycling, replacing Norman Baker, who has gone to the Home Office.
As parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, Mr Goodwill, who is the Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, will also be responsible for road safety and standards, local roads and freight and logistics, among other things.
Speaking of his new role to The Scarborough News last week, the 56-year-old said: “I am delighted to have cycling… it’s a big passion of mine as people know."
The former MEP owns a 250-acre farm. He is a steam engine enthusiast, and patron of the National Traction Engine Trust.
In 2008, as shadow roads minister, he lobbied for a ban on Segways on British roads to be overturned, telling Parliament: "We would like a limited trial to see lessons can be learned.
"They look like they shouldn't stay up, but you might think the same thing if you hadn't seen a bicycle before and looked at one for the first time.
Prior to the 2010 general election, he was tasked by then leader of the opposition David Cameron with cutting £6 million from the Whitehall budget through reducing use of ministerial cars if the Conservatives came to power.
At the time, he said: “Unless they have a good reason – such as carrying lots of ministerial boxes or security – we will expect Tory Ministers to consider using bicycles to get around Westminster and Whitehall. Ministers can always put their paperwork in a backpack."
But any thoughts that Whitehall and Parliament Square would play host to a peloton of ministers shuttling back and forth between Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster proved to be wishful thinking.
However, Mr Goodwill’s predecessor at the DfT, Mr Baker, preferred using what he termed a “ministerial bike” rather than a car for short trips between government departments and it will be hoped that the new minister, also said to own a folding bike, will follow suit.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.