Prescott calls for pedal power

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Ministers have been told to "get on your bike" by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of environment, transport and the regions.

MPs were told yesterday that ministers have been urged in "green guidelines" by the Deputy Prime Minister's department to use public transport for business wherever possible and to walk or use their cycles for short distances.

Unfortunately for the Government's green image, officials at the department could not think of a single minister who currently rides a bike to work.

That is in marked contrast to the Tories, who had the bicycling baronet, Sir George Young, the former transport minister, and David Willetts, a former whip, in the front row of Whitehall push-bikers.

There may be more MPs taking to their bikes. The senior salaries review body last week recommended that MPs should be awarded a bicycle allowance to encourage them to leave their cars in the garage for constituency business.