You are here
Home > BMF News >

Introducing our newest member of Staff ~ Paul Morgan

Want to know more about Paul Morgan CBE, our Government Relations Executive? Read on….

I am really pleased to have joined the British Motorcyclists’ Federation as Government Relations Executive to help provide reactive and proactive lobbying on behalf of BMF directly with the UK Government, whilst working closely with other lobbying organisations and partners such as the National Motorcyclists’ Council (NMC) to promote the cause of motorcycling.

Motorcycling has always been a passion, since I first started riding the early Japanese bikes in the late 70s. At that time leather was the material of choice for riders (hi-tech clothing with waterproof and breathable membranes was some way off) and I’d managed to pick up a Marlon Brando “Wild One” leather jacket from Sunbury Market and a pair of leather fur-lined WWII “ex-Luftwaffe” boots for a good price off Exchange & Mart. Of course all of the kit leaked in the rain! This was not entirely surprising as the Luftwaffe boots had been designed to be worn with a cockpit canopy over one’s head! “Safety” was also not yet a primary consideration in motorcycling; nobody, apart from maybe Barry Sheene, spoke much about armour or knee pads back then. But there was a mutual respect between motorcycle riders and other road users and a wide recognition amongst the travelling public of the motorcycle as a key means of transport providing a viable solution to get from A to B cheaply, whilst enabling the rider to experience the thrill and excitement of the open road. My father, who came to the UK from Eastern Europe after WWII, was part of the generation during the 1950’s and 1960’s, when the British motorcycle industry was at its post-war peak, who relied on motorbikes as a cheap transport solution to get around; starting out with an AJS and moving on to an Ariel/BSA with sidecar when my sister came along.

My Father in the 1950’s with his beloved AJS

Like many youngsters in the 70’s, I started out with a Yamaha FS1E moped and worked my way up through various trials bikes, including a Honda XL 175, to a blue and white Yamaha RD250, which I used to ride up to Box Hill in Surrey at the weekend with a friend who rode a black Kawasaki 900. In more recent years, I have ridden a Honda CB 1000R and various Harleys. My current bike is a Harley Fat Bob with a Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-twin engine described as a “”street eater with an appetite for power with amped-up performance in every ride” which just about sums it up. It is certainly a bike that has come a long way in terms of performance, handling and safety compared to the bikes of the 60’s and 70’s.

My current bike ~ Harley Fat Bob

Before joining BMF in September, my background was working within government at senior level on issues concerning border and national security. This has involved close working with Ministers, officials and partners outside of government, both in the UK and overseas, over a period of almost 40 years, including official secondments overseas in North and West Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In more recent years I have worked on negotiations with European partners on migration and security, preparations for UK border operations and on implementing health measures at the border during the Covid pandemic. That work has given me a unique insight into the mechanics of government, including how best to achieve positive engagement with Ministers and their Private Offices and wider policy officials across government. I hope to fully utilise my experience and skills in my new lobbying role with BMF.

Politically, things have already started to hot up. On the 20 September 2023, the Prime Minister pretty much “kick-started” the Conservative party’s re-election campaign, announcing changes to the UK’s net zero policy, including pushing back a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years to 2035. Billed as the start of a series of announcements of long-term decisions designed to deliver change in the UK, the Prime Minister said he had taken a more “pragmatic” and “proportionate” approach to reaching net zero by 2050 and it was not right to impose the significant costs of climate transition on people already facing significant cost of living pressures. In addition, the Prime Minister has promised motorists that he is “on their side” ordering a review of controversial anti-motorist schemes being rolled out across Britain, including the future roll out of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) which often use cameras, giant planters and bollards to turn away motorised vehicles.

BMF was pleased to see the Government’s subsequent announcement on 2 October 2023 of a new “Plan for Drivers” with Transport Secretary Mark Harper (who I worked closely with when he was Immigration Minister) announcing “a new long-term plan to improve journeys for millions across the country, ensuring people have the freedom to travel how they want.” A welcome development, following proactive lobbying by the BMF/NMC on this point, is that the “Plan for Drivers” includes, for the first time, a guide for local authorities on allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes and sets out the Government’s intention to hold a consultation about whether motorcycle access to bus lanes should be standard across the UK.

Labour, has however pledged to reinstate the 2030 deadline for the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars if they win the next election. And with Labour currently riding high in the polls that remains a distinct possibility. With BMF, NMC and other key groups representing motorcyclists seeking an approach to decarbonisation which follows international product, technical and market developments in this area, including the wider development of clean fuel technology rather than imposing arbitrary UK-only targets based around just one type of technology – battery electric – the coming months are going to be a pivotal time for motorcycling. It will be crucial that motorcyclists’ groups have a clear voice on timetables, process and legacy protections around the phase out of fossil fuels and that we are able to move towards global Net Zero targets in a manner that makes the best use of current and future technologies, including e-fuels, and where low-polluting motorcycles are seen as a key part of the solution to achieving Net Zero rather than the “problem child.”

2023 Harley Davidson Pan America 1250

General elections provide a key opportunity to influence future decision-makers and, although an election has not yet been called, we will need to be ready with a comprehensive lobbying and engagement strategy in place to get our key messages across. The next election must be called before January 2025 and most pundits are currently predicting that the election will take place in Autumn 2024. But it could be earlier, possibly as early as April/May 2024, and we will need to be ready. Importantly, as we head towards an election, we will need to consider and decide how best to effectively engage with the various political parties. Now is the time not only to build on the relationships NMC and BMF have established with the current Government and various officials but to also build new relationships with shadow ministers and their teams.

A key part of any lobbying strategy is to develop a “manifesto” which sets out our key priorities and which will help politicians understand the priorities and needs of the motorcycling sector ahead of the general election. BMF will be working closely with NMC colleagues over the coming weeks and months to develop a manifesto that fulfils those aims and which we can use to engage effectively with politicians and their teams. We will need to work closely with our members and regional clubs to ensure we have a manifesto that is fit for purpose. Ultimately, we need to ensure that motorcycling is firmly at the heart of the political agenda with a clear recognition of the contribution that motorcycling and motorcycle sport and leisure makes to the UK economy and jobs and how motorcycling can contribute now to achieving Net Zero and congestion targets. And it will be essential that we take the opportunity over the coming months to ensure that we are at the heart of political decision-making and are considered key partners for any new government.

Paul Morgan CBE
BMF Government Relations Executive