Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is under a lot of pressure at the moment, even though his answers at the Leveson Inquiry yesterday were good enough to keep him in a frontbench role. But even so, his presentation in the run-up to his date with Robert Jay QC was decidedly shaky.
Hunt, and his handling of News Corp’s bid to take over BSkyB, have been all over the news for weeks now – and unsurprisingly news cameras follow his every move. So it’s rather strange to learn from the Daily Mail that he “has cycled himself into even more trouble by breaking the law three times and risking £3,000 in police fines during one short bike ride”.
The Secretary of State for Culture managed to rack up these offences on Sunday as he cycled home. He has also drawn fire from safety campaigners by often cycling in central London without a helmet – which may not be illegal by itself, but certainly has implications for common sense. Roger Geffen at the National Cyclists’ Organisation told the Mirror: “All road users should respect the rules – and ministers, especially, should set an example.”
Hunt’s law breaking comes just a few days after London Mayor Boris Johnson spoke out on BBC One’s Question Time, saying: “I have seen a figure of I think 62% … of cyclist KSIs (people killed and seriously injured) are associated with some infraction by the cyclist themselves of the rules of the road.” Johnson himself was caught on film a few years ago making similar cycling errors to Hunt’s, so it’s not the first time that a politician (and one close to Hunt), has got into trouble over this.
It seems easy for politicians to wander into negative headlines these days. Regardless of the fact they are breaking the law, they seem oblivious to the cameras constantly watching over them. Sorry Jeremy – but you need to undergo some road-safety lessons, and probably some media training too.
Will Edwards is managing director of media training consultancy Bluewood Training