Rail and air tycoon Richard Branson topped an AA/Populus poll for the next transport minister, prior to the election
results being announced. After the ‘revolving door’ that has seen 12 Transport Secretaries of State in the past 20 years, the AA said members were looking for someone who would stick at the job and unravel the mess that is the UK’s transport system.
Sir Richard Branson came out as top choice to run UK transport policy in a panel of 21,226 AA members. The largest motoring panel in Europe was asked to choose which non-political figure should become transport minister from a range of 15 celebrities and business people. Runner up was Jeremy Clarkson with AA President Edmund King just one point behind.
In the past, new governments have sought to include business people, such as Sir Digby Jones, as ministers, setting the precedent for a new Government that could target Branson, Clarkson or King.
Speaking about the poll, Edmund King, AA President said: “Election fever is at its peak but in this survey our ‘motor voters’ were asked to choose someone from outside the political sphere to be Transport Minister. Perhaps perturbed by the minor mention transport often gets in party manifestos, the panel chose a skilful and popular business man who they feel could really get transport moving in the UK.
“Support for Sir Richard by both males and females was fairly even (27% male support against 25% female) but, for the chosen second place transport minister, Jeremy Clarkson, there was an unsurprising macho male bias (27% male support against 19% female)
”Transport is often seen as the Cinderella department, so perhaps it is time that we had a strong business man at the top to shake things up and ensure that motor voters get value for money.”
Results – top three in order: Sir Richard Branson (26%); Jeremy Clarkson (24%); Edmund King (23%). Sir Alan Sugar came fourth with 12% and Joanna Lumley fifth with 6%.