Emily Thornberry in social media gaffe after picture driving 81mph

Labour’s Emily Thornberry in new social media gaffe after posting picture showing her driving 81mph on the motorway – eight years after sneering at St George’s flag on Twitter

  • Thornberry posted the photo on her way to conference in Liverpool last Saturday
  • She shared the snap of her driving 11mph over speed limit with her 24k followers
  • Her spokesman said: ‘She apologises unreservedly for this fleeting moment’ 

Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry has been caught speeding at 81mph on the motorway – in a picture she posted on her Instagram account.

The Shadow Attorney General, whose husband is a High Court judge, uploaded the incriminating photo of driving to party conference in Liverpool last Saturday.

Ms Thornberry, 62, wrote next to the snap ‘On my way to Labour Conference’, adding that she was ‘choosing a Labour Students disco playlist’.

The picture was taken by a back seat passenger and shows the rear-view mirror, revealing that Ms Thornberry, in sunglasses and a brown coat, is driving the Toyota Prius in the middle lane.

Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry has been caught speeding at 81mph on the motorway – in a picture she posted on her Instagram account

She shared the snap with her 24,000 followers but failed to spot that the digital speedometer on the car’s dashboard displayed the figure 81. The speed limit on Britain’s motorways is 70mph.

Last night her spokesman 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 gaffe comes eight years after another social-media blunder, when she sparked outrage over a ‘sneering’ tweet about three St George’s flags hanging from a house during the Rochester by-election in Kent.

She posted a picture of the house, which had a white Ford Transit van outside, with the words: ‘Image from Rochester.’

The mother-of-three was sacked from the front bench by then leader Ed Miliband after the Twitter post was labelled unpatriotic.

She shared the snap with her 24,000 followers but failed to spot that the digital speedometer on the car’s dashboard displayed the figure 81. The speed limit on Britain’s motorways is 70mph

Islington South and Finsbury, North London MP Ms Thornberry was then forced to apologise in 2019 after comparing the Liberal Democrats to the Taliban over their threat to cancel Brexit if they won power.

Drivers who speed at between 71mph and 90mph in a 70mph zone face having three penalty points slapped on their licence, according to Government guidelines.

Most police forces also impose a £100 fine. Drivers can be offered the option to go on a driving awareness course rather than accept the penalty points. Motorists who tot up 12 penalty points face a six-month driving ban.

Errol Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: ‘The speed limit on motorways is 70mph for a good reason.

‘At 80mph, the consequences will be a lot more serious if you crash. 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.

‘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.’

The gaffe comes eight years after another social-media blunder, when she sparked outrage over a ‘sneering’ tweet about three St George’s flags hanging from a house during the Rochester by-election in Kent

The motorway speed limit has been 70mph since 1965 but has long been argued over by motoring groups and safety campaigners. In recent years, Ministers have mooted raising it to 80mph.

Prime Minister Liz Truss said last month that she was open to the idea. Replying to a question during the final leadership hustings debate, she said: ‘On speed limits, we need to be prepared to look at that… I can’t give you a precise answer.’

Raising the limit would bring Britain in line with countries such as Germany.

Two-thirds of AA members support an increase to 80mph. But a report by the Road Safety Foundation said this would be dangerous and lead to more high-speed shunts on motorways.

Stopping distances at 80mph are the equivalent of 30 car lengths, rather than six car lengths for vehicles travelling at 70mph.

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