Motorcycles should be supported by policy – husting consensus found.

At a General Election husting event organised by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) candidates from three political parties agreed that Government policy should support motorcycling.  Candidates standing for Reform UK, Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives agreed that Government needs to do better for motorcyclists in the UK.

policy should support motorcycling

Cumbria MAG held a General Election husting event in Egremont on Tuesday 18th June.  The event was organised to allow motorcyclists to hear from candidates for the Whitehaven and Workington constituency.   

Conservative Andrew Johnson, and Liberal Democrat Chris Wills both attended.  Reform UK candidate, David Surtees, was unable to attend for medical reasons, but Matthew Moody (candidate for neighbouring Penrith and Solway constituency) substituted for Reform.

Labour’s Josh MacAlister, and Jill Perry the Green candidate did not attend.

The discussion revealed that all candidates present have a strong belief that politicians need to learn more about motorcycling to deliver better policies.  Andrew Johnson and Chris Wills have the benefit of being motorcyclists themselves, whilst Matthew Moody conceded he was not an expert on motorcycles.

Conservative candidate Andrew Johnson pointed out that the Conservative manifesto does mention motorcycling twice.  He said:

“We need more people elected into parliament who understand motorcycling, have a bike, and are willing to champion hard the issues that we all care about, and for me that’s about backing things like synthetic petrol production – so we get away from all this bio-ethanol rubbish […] and we get back to proper science like synthetic petrol, start investing more in our roads, and start treating motorcyclists like genuine road users, as opposed to in this hierarchy of vulnerable road users […]  It’s a fantastic mode of transport, it needs support and if elected I’m determined to keep championing the interests of not only motorcycling from a road riding perspective, but off-road as well.  There’s big challenges facing us in the future.”

“We need all parliamentarians to understand the value of motorcycling and what it brings to the UK economy, because it is a big component.  It employs a lot of people, brings in a lot of money, good for tourism, good for leisure, good for commuting – all of it”

Agreeing with Johnson, Liberal Democrat Chris Wills said:

“He’s right and in the Lib Dem manifesto the word isn’t there.  We’ve been caught with our leathers down – definitely.  I don’t want to make excuses, but if I get elected there will be a Lib Dem motorcycle action group and there’ll be a parliamentary group too. […..] I think what we need is a reappraisal of the hierarchy in the Highway Code, I mean it’s ridiculous. […] You have to be a motorcyclist to understand motorcycling.  There needs to be a core of people making the decisions who actually do ride the things.”

“Don’t be anti- electric motorbikes, be anti- this ridiculous push to go electric.  […] There’s a place for electric […] but it shouldn’t be a threat to the internal combustion engine.”

Reform’s Matthew Moody pointed out that his party would scrap all aspects of the ban of ICE vehicles, including the sales quotas imposed via the ZEV mandate.  Commenting in the discussion on licencing, he said:

“We’ve got to the stage where it’s nanny government interfering in every aspect of our lives.  What they need to do is back off.  They need to let people who know what they are doing to consult and come up with a new plan, a new way of doing things and let them get on with it. And that’s what Reform is all about, getting rid of all the red tape, all of the nonsense, getting back to basics and starting again, because it’s just gone too far the other way.”

“I’m not an expert on motorbikes [..] but what I do know is nonsense when I see it, and that five page flow chart that I saw about how to get a licence – I was reading it thinking what would I need to do to get a licence, and I just gave up after a while – it was just ridiculous – and that’s on a Government website!”

The lack of representation from Labour left room for criticism from the other candidates.  Organiser Michael Armstrong, MAG’s national political officer, is a Labour party member and was disappointed by the inability to probe Labour’s attitude to motorcycling.  Michael said:

“I want to encourage all motorcyclists – go to your local parliamentary candidate for Labour and ask them ‘what are your policies on motorcycling?’ – we won’t find out tonight, because they are not here.”

MAG will be releasing a video of the husting event soon.

MAG is also holding another husting on Monday 24th June in Edinburgh, where again all parties are invited to face riders’ questions about the policies that matter to them.


Full list of candidates for Whitehaven and Workington:

Conservative: Andrew Johnson

Labour: Josh MacAlister

Green: Jill Perry

Reform UK: David Surtees

Liberal Democrat: Chris Wills


Edinburgh Hustings:

Monday 24th June 2024 at 7.30pm

Venue: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, 25 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh EH12 5AP