In the slow lane…

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Penny Mordaunt said the policy in Wales was “absolutely insane” but had herself been caught speeding

A controversial policy to impose 20 mph speed limits in Wales was condemned as “absolutely insane” by a leading Conservative, but she had herself been caught speeding, The Eye can exclusively reveal.

The trenchant criticism of the policy made UK headlines, and came from Penny Mordaunt who was appointed Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons on 6 September 2022.

She was also at one time favourite to become leader of the Conservative Party at last year’s internal elections, and her comments appeared to reflect growing anger at the speed limit.

Mark Drakeford with Sir Keir Starmer – a ‘blueprint’ for governing Britain?

As well as saying it was “absolutely insane”, Ms Mordaunt accused, too, the Labour Welsh Government (WG) of “punishing motorists” with the “crazy” move, which came into force on Sunday.

She also warned that Mark Drakeford’s administration is seen as a “blueprint for governing Britain by UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

However Ms Mordaunt has an interesting background, and has been called “as thick as two short planks by her critics”.

The condemnation of lower speed limits may be seen as hypocritical in the context of her past behaviour.

Tibbet’s Corner in Putney, London, where Penny Mordaunt was caught speeding

According to court papers seen by The Eye, in February Ms Mordaunt admitted driving a Mini Cooper S at 49mph along the A3 near Tibbet’s Corner in Putney, London.

In 2016, during the EU referendum campaign (in which she supported Brexit), Ms Mordaunt appeared to believe, wrongly, that it would be impossible for the UK to veto the accession of Turkey.

The interviewer (Andrew Marr) pressed her with: “The British Government DOES have a veto”, but Ms Mordaunt replied, incredibly, by saying: “No, it doesn’t”. Mr Marr tried again: “I thought accession is something each country could veto if it wanted to”, yet she held firm with her wrong-headed belief: “No”.

‘Her Majesty stuck by the country’

During the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Ms Mordaunt declared in an article: “Her Majesty stuck by the country, no matter that at one stage it meant working with a government that wanted to abolish her and the monarchy”.

This statement is, again, completely incorrect. No government has ever “wanted to abolish her and the monarchy”.

“Trans men are men; Trans women are women”

She may be in trouble, too, with ordinary Conservatives over her apparent support at one point for Trans rights (and leaked papers seemed to confirm it), but even here she has tried to use weasel words to get out of it.

Ms Mordaunt appeared clear enough when she told the commons: “Trans men are men; Trans women are women”, but now says “in law some are”.

Cripes – I’m not having Penny Mordaunt!

During her brief time as Defence Secretary, she had supported the removal of at least one of two medical requirements needed by people to change their gender.

Ms Mordaunt had little time to leave a mark in the defence world, because she was abruptly sacked in July 2019 by Boris Johnson when he became Prime Minister. The ousted minister had supported his main rival, Jeremy Hunt, and was replaced by longtime Johnson backer Ben Wallace.

In her leadership launch speech, she talked of: “My monetary policy”, apparently unaware that the Bank of England (BoE) has been independent for 26 years, and is in control of monetary policy, while the UK Government has power over FISCAL policy.

In Parliament she has been a strong advocate of funding for Homeopathy, which most health experts think is complete nonsense.

Its practitioners, called homeopaths, believe that a substance which causes symptoms of a disease in healthy people can cure similar symptoms in sick people, a doctrine called “like cures like”.

Lord Frost – Penny Mordaunt did not master the detail

Meanwhile in her previous jobs at defence, and in Brexit negotiations, she has been accused of going AWOL all the time, and not understanding details.

David (Baron) Frost proclaimed:  “She was my deputy notionally – rather than really – in the Brexit talks last year…I felt that she…wasn’t always visible. Sometimes I didn’t even know where she was”.

The Welsh Government (WG), though has remained defiant, despite Ms Mordaunt’s contentious remarks.

Officials have written on its website: “Our assessment shows that reducing speeds to 20mph can result in an average increase of one minute per journey, nine lives saved and 98 serious injuries prevented each year.

The Welsh Government has insisted its policy is right

“Before the law was passed, we produced an impact assessment that considered all the potential costs. This was included in the explanatory memorandum.

“It included the costs of any delays to travel time. The method used is now under academic debate for its effectiveness when calculating small delays.

“So the estimated cost to the economy of £4.5bn over 30 years may not be an accurate reflection of the true cost. The slightly longer travel time was the only negative economic impact identified.

“It is estimated that the casualty prevention savings, including the reduced impact on NHS and emergency services, could be up to £92m every year.”

Beyond insane

But Ms Mordaunt has always been keen to keep a high-profile, and this may have been a factor in her very public remarks slamming the WG policy.

She was, for example, a contestant on ITV’s Splash!, but performed a lot of belly flops.

Yet perhaps her biggest belly flop of all was to condemn the 20 mph speed limits in Wales as “absolutely insane”, when she had herself been caught speeding…


Details of our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry’s astonishing career (including being the first to reveal disturbing facts about senior politicians) as he was gripped by the rare neurological condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now.


Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

Tomorrow – how during 23 years with the BBC, and 40 years in journalism, Phil was often confronted by official secrecy (as well as its damaging effects), so regularly had to use subterfuge to get at the truth, and this is now highlighted by reports that Ukraine’s grindingly slow counter-offensive (despite recent successes) may have been harmed by strategists keeping plans close to their chests.