Boris is right to suggest that government ministers should get out of their cars (Daily Telegraph, 31 August 2009), certainly in central London. But he’ll have more trouble persuading his fellow Tories to use public transport than he cares to imagine.
While the quotation attributed to Margaret Thatcher that anyone who travelled by bus was a failure in life may be apocryphal, it accurately reflects the philosophy of Tory politicians, many of whom are hooked on their perks such as taxi expenses. Here at City Hall, Brian Coleman has become notorious for his use of taxis, both as London Assembly Member for Barnet & Camden and as Chair of the fire authority LFEPA. Indeed Boris’s own expenses claims for taxis last year didn’t look too good either.
Maybe Boris needs to get his own house in order before he starts telling colleagues in parliament how to go about travelling when carrying out their political responsibilities.