Emily Thornberry has been caught red-handed speeding at 81 miles an hour in a picture which the Labour frontbencher shared on social media. The MP for Islington South and Finsbury MP posted the picture on her Instagram account as she travelled to the party’s annual conference in Liverpool last week.
The Shadow Attorney General, whose husband is a High Court judge, commented: “On my way to Labour Conference.”
She also explained that she was ‘choosing a Labour Students disco playlist’.
The photograph was taken by a passenger in the rear of the vehicle, with Ms Thornberry, wearing sunglasses and a brown coat, behind the wheel of the Toyota Prius.
The car’s digital dashboard shows its speed as being 81 piles per hour at the time.
In a statement issued last night, a spokesman for Ms Thornberry said: “She is well aware that the speed limits are set where they are for a reason, and she apologises unreservedly for this fleeting and totally unwitting moment when she exceeded them on the drive to Liverpool.”
The speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways has been 70mph since 1965, and is currently 60mph on all other roads.
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In accordance with government guidelines, motorists who travel at speeds of between 71 and 90mph on Britain’s roads are liable for a three-point penalty on their driving licences, with most police forces also imposing a £100 fine.
As an alternative, drivers can opt to attend driving awareness course instead of accepting the points. Anyone who accrues 12 points on their licences is likely to be banned from the road for six months.
Errol Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said motorway speed limits were “there for a good reason”.
He explained: “At 80mph, the consequences will be a lot more serious if you crash.
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“The 80mph stopping distance is 400ft, which is 85ft further than if you are going at 70mph.
“It is much harder to stop your car and avoid a crash if you are going at 80mph.”
Mr Taylor added: “The faster you go, the less time you have to react and the force of the impact will be much more severe.
“You are at a vastly higher risk of death or serious injury.
“Also, fuel consumption is 25 per cent higher at 80mph compared to 70.”
One person who is not necessarily a big fan of current speed limits is Prime Minister Liz Truss.
During the course of her successful campaign to be elected Tory leader, she was quizzed at a hustings event by one audience member who said: “Smart motorways kill. They also cause long delays because they close lanes off when there’s a breakdown.
“They also often impose very low speed limits, mandatory ones, much lower than necessary, so will you restore hard shoulders to all motorways and in the meantime will you change the speed limit from mandatory to advisory?”
Ms Truss replied: “On speed limits, we need to be prepared to look at that … I can’t give you a precise answer.”
Addressing the issue of smart motorways, which seek to regulate traffic by varying speed limits, she continued: “I absolutely think that we need to review them and stop them if they are not working as soon as possible.
“And all the evidence I have suggests they’re not working. We need to be prepared to look at that.
“I do believe that the smart motorways experiment hasn’t worked.”