Julian Huppert, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, has tweeted: "Just heard – we have secured an #GetBritainCycling debate and vote in the Chamber on the 2 September."
The debate is another one of the parliamentary "accumulations" that ‘bicycling baronet’ Sir George Young told BikeBiz has been, slowly, benefitting cycling since the 1970s.
Last February, 77 MPs said many kind words about cycling in a packed Westminster Hall during a three hour Backbench Business Committee debate. The new debate moves to the main chamber and comes with a vote. Even if cycling ‘won’ this vote, the Government would be under no obligation to take any action.
In December 1997 a similar debate was secured by Charles Clarke, the Labour MP for Norwich. He was, at the time, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. The year before the then Tory Government had published the National Cycling Strategy "a major breakthrough in transport thinking." The goal for this strategy – never given teeth or cash – was to double cycle use by 2002 and double it again by 2012. It failed.
Charles Clarke (who was later Home Secretary between 2004 and 2006) said the 1997 parliamentary debate was to "stress the need for the Government to have a co-ordinated and coherent strategy to promote cycling in all areas."
Phillip Darnton, executive director of the Bicycle Association and the former chair of Cycling England, has long called for high-level political committment for cycling.
The secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group is paid for by an umbrella group of bicycle organisations, including the Association of Cycle Traders, CTC, Bicycle Association, Sustrans, British Cycling and Cyclenation.