Whilst former Lib Dem MP Lembit Öpik endures life in the jungle appearing on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, a response to my recent Freedom of Information request to the Department of Transport reveals he was being joked about in emails to the department during his time in Parliament.
The sender is someone from Chelgate, “public relations and public affairs consultants”, who were working on behalf of Segway to promote the use of their self-balancing electric vehicles.
Lembit appears to be a supporter of the vehicles. He signed Early Day Motion 444 in 2007 which, amongst other things, asks that the government allows a trial of Segway PTs requested by the Police Federation.
The email relates to a meeting that Lembit attended along with officials from the DfT, the Metropolitan Police Service, and representatives of Segway and Chelgate, at which some of the legal issues regarding the use of Segway PTs and a potential trial by the MPS was discussed.
I became aware of Chelgate in some quite interesting circumstances. Stewart Jackson, the Conservative MP for Peterborough, had been criticised for comments he made on Twitter (@SJacksonMP) in which he seemed to blame the rise in sexually transmitted infections on greater sex education. I noted how Jackson’s Wikipedia article had been edited by someone using the Houses of Parliament’s internet connection. It seems that in response to my tweet Jackson decided to block me from following him on Twitter.
@coruskate highlighted that someone using an IP address belonging to Chelgate had also been involved in editing the article to play down the controversy. So, curious about this organisation, I’ve made a number of Freedom of Information requests to a selection of government departments to try to better understand some of what they get up to. The DfT are the only department to respond so far.