“I loved being a Minister, but not being an MP”.
That’s the admission from two former transport ministers in this week’s Highways Voices podcast, which hears from Conservative Steve Norris, who served in the John Major government in the 90s, and Labour’s Stephen Ladyman, a minister under Tony Blair a decade later.
In the podcast they discuss how they are proud they made a difference. “One of the things you get as a transport minister in your weekend box are reports of fatalities on the motorways. One of the first ones that I opened up after I became the minister was referring to to roads workers who had been killed because of somebody speeding through road works at night in the rain and lost their way gone through the cones and hit these two poor people,” said Ladyman. “So I immediately said, we have got to do something about about speeding through motorway roadworks, and we came up with with average speed cameras and they’ve worked brilliantly.”
Norris, who coincidentally worked on the average speed camera scheme after he left government, talked about legacy too discussing the Jubilee Line Extension he oversaw and also the role of a minister, “In some ways, having too much expert knowledge is quite dangerous, because it means you’ve got a very fixed idea of what you think should happen, and it may not be actually what the rest of the world thinks,” he explained.
The entertaining chat also features discussions about appearing on Top Gear, used cars, news management and even meeting Highways Voices host Paul Hutton in the mid-2000s.
The podcast has a very special “Adrian’s Accolade” this week and a summary of the latest news.