Lembit Öpik bikes into Barnstaple

MAG PR manager Lembit Opik (centre) with (L-R) Tracy Smith, Sharron O'Neil and Doug Smith MAG PR manager Lembit Opik (centre) with (L-R) Tracy Smith, Sharron O'Neil and Doug Smith

Saturday, May 3, 2014
2:40 PM

Former MP chairs hustings of European candidates on behalf of MAG.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

COLOURFUL former MP Lembit Öpik rolled into Barnstaple on Thursday before hosting a hustings to challenge European candidates on motorcycling rights.

The ex-Liberal Democrat MP and television celebrity now works for the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and was in town before heading to Bridge Motorcycles in Exeter to chair an event featuring five South West prospective MEP candidates.

The hustings and visit was organised by local MAG representatives Doug and Tracey Smith from Barnstaple, together with South West political officer Alan Langmaid.

The packed meeting was focussed on the impact of European policies and parties on British motorcyclists.

Riders were able to challenge the Conservative, Green, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP candidates to explain what they’d do for riders if elected.

“In the UK, more than five million voters are also fully qualified motorcyclists,” said Tracey, who is the South West rep for MAG.

“Any wise candidate – and political party for that matter – will be eager to engage with us.”

Lembit, who lost his seat in the 2010 general election but has appeared on numerous TV shows including Have I Got News for You? and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! said the ‘motorcycle vote’ was big enough to ‘make or break’ a candidate’s chance of election on May 22.

“We expect politicians to take an informed and positive attitude to riders. That’s exactly what we achieved at the meeting,” he said.

“If one word sums up riders it is ‘liberty’. 31 MPs are now MAG members, and there are 17,000 members across the country – more than some political parties.”

He was appointed director of communications and public affairs for MAG last autumn. He said: “They had a reputation then of being rebels and outsiders, like some sort of two-wheeled militia, but they’re really about riders’ rights and they’re very gentle people.

“When MAG riders get together, the biggest danger to the public is boredom because we start talking about double overhead camshafts!”

The next MAG bike night takes place at Barnstaple Square tomorrow (Thursday).

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other North Devon Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by North Devon Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique North Devon Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Join our newsletter

Local Search 24 – North Devon
Looking for a:

Location:

Search radius:

North Devon's trusted business directory