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Cycling

Part of Backbench Business — Private Members’ Bills – in the House of Commons at 6:26 pm on 2nd September 2013.

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Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine Conservative, Winchester 6:26 pm, 2nd September 2013

I was fortunate to sit on the “Get Britain Cycling” inquiry earlier this year. There was huge interest in what we were doing. When we started the inquiry, we were the best trending name on Twitter. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Dr Huppert for securing this debate and to Adam Coffman, who put so much work into making it a professional, Select Committee-style inquiry.

In the short time available to me, I will focus on three areas: vision and leadership, which for me is where it starts and ends; the design issue; and the summer of cycling in my constituency. I am extremely proud of the report and believe that it stands up really well. Having read it again in writing these remarks, I think that it will age well. We launched the report in April and the Government responded last week. In the light of everything that has happened since we produced the report, I think that is more relevant now than when we launched it.

On leadership, it is no coincidence that one of the first points in the report is the need for

“vision, ambition and strong political leadership”.

As Ian Austin said, we recommend the appointment of a national cycling champion. I share his regret that that recommendation was not accepted in last week’s Government response. It is all too easy to regard such things as somebody else’s responsibility. The Minister need not look further than City hall, where Andrew Gilligan is the Mayor’s cycling champion, for a good example of how a cycling champion can work.