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Only one in six MPs signed up to support cycling before the election

Disappointing response to CTC's Vote Bike campaign may be due to database error, however...

Just one in six MPs signed up to strongly support cycling in a disappointing response to the CTC's Vote Bike campaign.

Just 114 of 650 newly-elected MPs, including the Prime Minister, signed up to one or more of the campaign's five asks, whose categories were ambition, funding, design standards, safety and positive promotion.

Of 3,286 candidates contacted by the organisation 1,058 responded, the low rate apparently due to database issues - some candidates' Parliament email addresses were used, which weren't always checked while Parliament was dissolved before elections, understands.

Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns Director said: "Following the announcement of a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy at the end of the last parliament, the future of cycling is looking much more positive. It's now down to our new MPs and Prime Minister to deliver on the spending and other Vote Bike commitments they made to their constituents. This is vital if we are to at last start to Get Britain Cycling."

David Cameron signed up to Vote Bike on 29 April, days before the general election, though he didn't commit on the safety category, which involves strengthening road traffic law and its enforcement and revising the Highway Code.

While Cameron replied "it depends" on the ambition category, to increase cycling to 10% of trips by 2025 and 25% by 2050 he later went on to mention it in a letter to Journalist and CTC President, Jon Snow.

"Our aim is to double cycling by 2025, not least because it means better health, less pollution, and less congestion - we want it to be the natural choice for shorter journeys," the letter said.

Making an unlikely Game of Thrones reference, Cameron also added by hand at the bottom of the letter: "When it comes to cycling, 'you know everything, Jon Snow'".

In total 4,683 people sent 26,928 emails to candidates. The highest response rate was from the Green party, with 65% of emails receiving replies; followed by the Lib Dems at 44%. Only 14% of emails to Conservative candidates received replies, compared to 29% of Labour and 11% of UKIP. Many Conservatives only supported some of the five areas, only 24 out of 86 Tory MPs that responded supporting all five.

The CTC has optimistically said the new government "appears to come with a cycling pedigree" with the re-appointment of cycling minister, Robert Goodwill, and "active supporters" Claire Perry and Andrew Jones. Eric Pickles was replaced by pro-cycling Greg Clark, who has been active with his local Tunbridge Wells Bicycle User Group.

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group is asking people to contact their MPs to join the group, which campaigns for cycling in Westminster and outside of it.

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K Stand Ken | 8 years ago

A couple of years back "The Times" (I think) in a campaign for cycling safety, set up a process where you could send an email direct to your MP. I did so quoting several cycling issues specifically relating to his constituency.
I was impressed to receive a reply, and very promptly too, but I was not impressed that it had seemingly been composed by a Westminster geek and tried to be a "one size fits all" response.
I suspect that everyone received an almost identical message.
Furthermore, not one of the local cycling issues I had raised was addressed.
The Labour MP in question sits on a very substantial majority, so much so that when he chooses to retire (for he will surely never be outvoted) the Labour Party need only to select one of the chimps from the TV adverts - as long as he waves a red flag he will be assured of success.
I can't decide if I was surprised or not, that in the recent General Election, only the Labour Party condescended to drop leaflets here - there was nothing from any of the other 7 candidates

spokeslady | 8 years ago

I emailed the following Watford, Herts candidates: Ian Brandon (Green), Sal Brinton (Lib Dem), Richard Harrington (Conservative), Nick Lincoln (UKIP), Dorothy Thornihill (Lib Dem), Matthew Turmaine (Labour) and not one of them responded.

farrell | 8 years ago

I think the CTC are being polite.

I got responses through the site from Green and Lib Dem candidates who were also just as keen to respond outside of it as well.

The Labour and Tory candidates didn't respond through the site and when contacted in person before the election were typically slippery and evasive and provided no response.

The two Labour candidates who were elected, the not so jazzy Jeff Smith and the duplicitous Lucy Powell still remain fixed to their position of refusing to communicate with their constituents post election.

I didn't see much point in contacting the local Tory candidates post election, your mileage may vary.

vonhelmet | 8 years ago

One in six? We should be amazed it's that high.

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