Minister for Cycling Norman Baker has left his post as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport to become Minister of State at the Home Office as part of this week’s reshuffle.
The reshuffle has seen fellow Lib Dem Susan Kramer become Minister of State at the Department for Transport.
However, it might not be a straight swap with regard to cycling: The CTC has speculated that Kramer may be more likely to focus on rail projects in the role and that Robert Goodwill MP – the new Conservative junior minister in the transport department, might in fact take over the cycling brief.
If the government has installed a cycle champion or ‘cycle tsar’ – as the Get Britain Cycling report recommended – then there would arguably be a greater sense of continuity for the cycle world.
Cambridge MP and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group Julian Huppert said of the move on Twitter: "Norman Baker’s Home Office move is very good news for civil liberties, but bad for cycling, buses and pedestrians. Sue Kramer should be good."
Interestingly, AA president Edmund King also tweeted on the appointment: "News of Norman Baker’s reshuffle out of DfT came as I was at DfT discussing his cycle strategy for the PM. Case of on your bike."
Baker’s tenure in the role has been a story of ups and downs, not necessarily in that order. While the keen cyclist was in the post the government ditched Cycling England, but since then Baker has helped secure Bikeability cycle training funding. During his time in the position there’s also been a number of pro-cycle funding announcements, even if these have been criticism over the level of these.
Memorably, he stuck up for cyclists not wearing helmets but also claimed, with colleague Mike Penning, that the Netherlands could learn from the UK on cycle safety – and that cycle funding in the UK exceeds that in the Netherlands.