Prince Edward: Where's my stretch Rover?

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The Independent Online

While 5,000 MG Rover workers at Longbridge were being made redundant on Friday, Prince Edward's office was phoning the collapsed car-maker that afternoon to find out whether his top-of-the-range stretch Rover 75 saloon car would still arrive.

While 5,000 MG Rover workers at Longbridge were being made redundant on Friday, Prince Edward's office was phoning the collapsed car-maker that afternoon to find out whether his top-of-the-range stretch Rover 75 saloon car would still arrive.

The Independent on Sunday has learnt that the "Connoisseur" 2.5-litre automatic car is in a factory waiting to be delivered.

The specially adapted model, which has an extended middle section, is the only one of its kind to roll off the Longbridge production line.

Embarrassingly for the Government, one delivery of Rover cars that will definitely be made this week will be to the Cabinet. Three cars, all Rover 75s, will be made available to the cabinet pool, unwelcome reminders to the Government of the closure of Britain's last independent big car manufacturer weeks before the general election.

A spokesman for the Car and Dispatch Office, a part of the Cabinet Office, insisted that senior ministers would still use the cars, but did not specify which ministers. "They will not be stored up," he said.

The three automatic cars - in red, silver and blue - have a list price of £25,000 but typically would have been sold to Whitehall for around £20,000. They will be the first delivery, and again certainly the last, as part of an exclusive agreement for Rover to supply the Cabinet with petrol-powered cars.

The cars were ordered in the past two weeks, when the Government hoped it could save MG Rover's rescue joint-venture deal with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

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