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05-09-2012 Mike Penning replaced as Roads Minister

Yesterday's cabinet reshuffle saw Mike Penning MP move to the Northern Ireland Office, probably in a supporting role to colleague Teresa Villiers, and a new man take up the reins in Transport.

Simon Burns, MP for Chelmsford, and Stephen Hammond MP for Wimbleton arrive at the Dept for Transport at a crucial time for motorcycling, as the Motorcycle Test Review is nearing completion, as the EU Type Approval Regulation nears its Parliamentary vote and as the negotiations begin into the new Super MoT.

Simon has a long history in most administrative sectors, either in government or while in opposition, and has held many positions within local grassroots Conservative Associations, so that broad base should put him in good stead for this Under-Secretary of State position. Having spent time working with the US Democrats on two campaigns, (most recently supporting Hilary Clinton) his politics clearly aren't as far to the Right as some within the Conservative Party, but exactly what his attitude is to the EU Commission's meddling in motorcycling, is yet to be seen.

Stephen Hammond's personal background is in finance, but he was previously shadow transport with responsibility for Conservative rail policy.

Norman Baker remains unchanged as the remaining Under Secretary for transport, and his responsibilities continue to include local transport policy, sustainable travel and traffic management, so he will still have some motorcycle involvement too.

Previous Roads Minister Mike Penning, was a huge boon to Riders' Rights, setting up the Ministerial Review into the motorcycle test and ensuring that progress was as swift as possible. Unfortunately the Agencies within his remit weren't always as progressive as him and the review process has dragged on much longer than expected, but MAG is extremely grateful for all that Mr Penning has done for motorcycling during his tenure. 

MAG is looking forward to meeting Messrs Burns, Hammond and their new boss, Patrick McLoughlin, Sec of State for Transport, as they settle into their new roles and wish them all the very best for the future.

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