Letter: My transport policy

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your front-page article (13 April) was downright wrong when it said that I am met by a chauffeur when I fly into the UK. I fly into one of London's airports at least once a week on average and my usual means of travel on arrival is to drive myself in my own car or to take a tube or taxi. I object strongly to the implication that I am frequently collected by my official driver, because that is just not true.

My official car was in the UK on only seven occasions last year and twice this year. Even then this did not always involve collecting me from the airport. In addition to the official rules on the use of that car, I have a set of self-imposed conditions which have to be met before I am happy for it to come here. It does not come unless I have significant engagements as leader of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament or several days' intense activity which means that I need to work while travelling by road.

Like Romano Prodi, I am very happy to use the humblest of transport. My travel arrangements to meetings at Downing Street while leader of the Socialist Group have included taxis, tube and foot and even hitching a lift in a delivery van.


(Lab, London North)

London N18