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The cabinet's cars

By raccars Published


Along with the keys to number 10, the new Prime Minister gets some suitably presidential cars.

Unless you've been living underground, you'll notice there's been a lot going on in British politics lately, including a new Prime Minister in the form of Theresa May and an associated cabinet reshuffle. The governmental car pool includes a number of very smart choices but ministers don't tend to get much choice. They are chauffeured around and in the case of the PM, it's in a rather special Jag.

The Prime Ministerial cars

Theresa May's previous governmental post, for the last six years, was that of Home Secretary. As such, she was driven around in an armoured BMW 7 Series. In her new role she will presumably take over the existing Prime Ministerial Jaguar XJ Sentinel.

Another armoured luxury barge, the Sentinel offers ballistic protection to grade B7, which includes grenade protection and blast protection for up to 15kg of TNT. It has certainly kept David Cameron safe for the last few years. Jaguar has a long history of providing cars for Downing Street and previous Prime Ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major also used Jaguar XJs during their time in office. The current Prime Ministerial XJ dates from 2010.

When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007, he famously insisted on keeping his Vauxhall Omega CD. After announcing plans to part exchange it for a more environmentally friendly and frugal Toyota Prius, he ended up going for the traditional Jaguar XJ some months later.

In earlier days, the highest ranking politicians and the Prime Ministers used Rover P5Bs - a quintessentially British saloon powered by a Buick 3.5 litre V8, the source of the 'B' suffix. The P5B was used by Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan, Edward Heath and Harold Wilson.

David Cameron

David Cameron also used a variety of personal cars before taking on the top job and once, while visiting Swindon's Honda factory, commented on how much he missed the CR-V he used to drive. It's the ideal family car for a well-known family man. Earlier this year Mr Cameron famously bought an old Nissan Micra for Samantha Cameron. He was seen driving it home from the dealer himself, having paid £1,500 for the 2004 model, which had 90,000 miles on the clock. A very frugal choice.

Other politicians' cars

Of recent fame, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage drives a Volvo V70 on a 59 plate, while the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon apes the Prime Minister in a Jaguar XJ. The Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, most appropriately rides a bicycle and uses transport. She apparently doesn't own a car of her own but does belong to a car club.

Boris Johnson may be well known as a bicycle fan but was spotted out in 2014 in an old Toyota Previa, while former Labour leader Ed Miliband drove an equally prosaic Ford Focus. Among other very modest ministerial transport was Nick Clegg's used Ford Galaxy, which he admitted to in 2014 during a radio interview. At the time the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Clegg confessed he would like to swap the Galaxy for an electric MPV.

Former Conservative minister for Margaret Thatcher and John Major, the late Alan Clark was quite a colourful character. Among his interests he was a well-known car lover and was the owner of a lovely Jaguar SS100 and was regularly seen driving the classic to and from the House of Commons.

The equally colourful John Prescott found himself caught up in an automotive scandal of sorts when the public realised that the supposedly down to Earth Deputy Prime Minister kept two Jaguars, an XJS to use in London and another Jaguar in his constituency of Hull. He'll probably always be better known for the unfortunate nickname 'Two Jags' than his political achievements.

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