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“Is a thirsty, second-hand Range Rover really the right car for our Prime Minister?”

Mike Rutherford was disappointed with Liz Truss’ choice of cars at the start of her reign as Prime Minister

Opinion - Range Rover

Just hours into her new job, we learned a little about the approach and attitude Liz Truss and her team are adopting towards roads, transport, journey times, freedom of movement and Britain’s most popular mode of transport – the motor car.

You might have spotted that, on the Monday she was formally ‘voted in’ (by her party, not the public) as Prime Minister, she still travelled in her BMW ministerial car. Honestly, can you imagine a just-announced leader of say, Germany, France, Italy or the USA travelling in anything other than a German, French, Italian or American vehicle on the day he or she landed the biggest job? Not in a million years.

Thankfully, the next day our new PM at least had the sense to switch to wheels from a British firm – albeit one that’s Indian-owned. But is a thirsty, second-hand Range Rover with the ‘wrong’ type of old-tech combustion engine really appropriate for the incoming PM, who could be in office until 2024, and even longer if all goes according to plan?

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The lady must surely lead by example and actively demonstrate that she has the courage of her EV and financially frugal convictions. Which means a switch from her Range Rover to a cleaner, cheaper, car – a Jaguar I-Pace, perhaps. She has greener Range Rover options, too. How about the excellent new plug-in hybrid that’ll take her around London on EV power until a fully electric Range Rover arrives in 2024.

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Another thing Liz should consider is her work-related travel schedule. In short, avoid rush hours. Why did her ‘expert’ team of advisors and safety and security pros allow her to do her first road trip to Downing Street as Prime Minister in late afternoon on a working Tuesday when commuting car drivers and busy buses and taxis were bound to get in the way of her and her needlessly long fleet of limos, bikes and other support vehicles?

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I watched all the helicopter-supplied footage of her fast-and-furious SUV ride from RAF Northolt to Downing Street, just 15 miles away. Surprise number one was how often the rules of the road weren’t adhered to by her convoy. Near misses, speeding, plus driving/riding over roundabouts, in bus lanes and on the wrong side of the road – they were all evident and, frankly, unnecessary.  No one – no matter how senior, busy and protected they must be en route to their workplace – needs to cause so much potentially dangerous disruption to fellow road users and pedestrians.

Are her drivers, security staff and police motorcyclists going to accept, bend or break the laws of the land when the lady commutes in future? We’ll see. But if they’re not obeying the rules, they’ll have to explain and justify their reasons why.

On a more productive note, the new PM has already spoken positively about increased road building, a lifting of the ban on fracking, and possible amendments to some speed limits. Therefore it’s so far, so good from Truss.

Mind you, I said the same thing about Grant Shapps during the first few days of his long, car-loathing reign as Transport Secretary. Sincerely, thanks for dumping him, Liz.

Do you agree with Mike? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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Chief columnist

Mike was one of the founding fathers of Auto Express in 1988. He's been motoring editor on four tabloid newspapers - London Evening News, The Sun, News of the World & Daily Mirror. He was also a weekly columnist on the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Sunday Times. 

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