Investment bankers and acknowledged 'shit-shovellers' joined forces in a protest against a proposed community ban on new motorcycles with engines above 100 brake horsepower. Neil Liversidge, 29, who had travelled 210 miles from Castleford in West Yorkshire, dismissed as 'blind prejudice' arguments that powerful 'superbikes' are dangerous. Riders who were prepared to spend up to pounds 5,000 on a bike were 'serious, experienced and safe'.
He went on: 'This is another example of Brussels threatening our rights. It's about our way of life - our freedom to ride in the way we have done for decades. We aren't asking for anything . . . we just want to be left alone. There is a monolithic bureaucracy in Brussels - people who receive large salaries and generous expenses for producing virtually nothing. These people will carry on making work for themselves as long as people in Britain are fooled into paying for it.'
'Storm', a 55-year-old 'lady of private means', who has been riding motorcycles since she was 21, said the fact that most accidents occurred at speeds under 40mph and were mainly caused by cars, 'vitiated the arguments against big bikes'. Walking across Westminster Bridge to join the lobby of Parliament - the police had banned a 'ride past' - she said that the British representative on the EC council of ministers should oppose the proposed ban when the council discusses the issue next month.
At the Commons, Bill Cash, the Euro-sceptic Conservative MP for Stafford, was greeted with three cheers as he wandered among the black leather jackets and BSA T- shirts, distributing petitions calling for a referendum on the Maastricht treaty. Roger Barton, Labour MEP for Sheffield, Chesterfield and north-east Derbyshire, flew in from Brussels to join the lobby. The 900cc Triumph Trophy Three he had ridden from Heathrow, was a demonstration model. 'I am planning to buy a Triumph of my own soon,' he said. 'You see, the wife has only just given me permission to get one.'
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