Former Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson has quit the motoring lobby group he co-founded in 2010, accusing the organisation of peddling “urban myths” about electric vehicles.
Mr Willson, who presented Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson throughout the 1990s, said he cut ties with FairFuel UK because he was “unhappy with the direction the lobby group was going and their lack of environmental sensibilities”.
In a LinkedIn post published last month, he said the group’s central mission to cut fuel duty for drivers was “incompatible with my views on the future of electric cars”, environmental investigations outlet DeSmog revealed.
FairFuel UK is a lobby group funded by the freight industry which campaigns for lower taxes for motorists. It has faced sharp criticism for a recent report published via its affiliated All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which called on the Government to reverse a 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars.
The paper was highly critical of the Government’s plan to promote a switch to electric cars and won the endorsement of several MPs, including Craig Mackinlay, the reported leader of a backbench group of MPs opposing the government’s net zero agenda.
But green groups dismissed the paper as “barely credible”, pointing out its reliance on “questionable” figures and analysis from the climate sceptic lobby group the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Since leaving Top Gear Mr Willson has spent years as a spokesman for FairFuel UK. But he has also dedicated much of his career to driving and promoting electric vehicles, and describes himself as an “electric car evangelist”.
Mr Willson said the APPG report contained “unforgiveable howlers” and accused it of reviving “urban myths” about electric cars.
“In the interests of transparency, after ten years of campaigning (unpaid) for lower fuel duty as a co-founder of FairFuel, I resigned as it was incompatible with my views on the future of electric cars,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
“I was also unhappy with the direction the lobby group was going and their lack of environmental sensibilities. After a decade of being their ambassador, FairFuel didn’t even have the courtesy to reply to my letter of resignation or make any announcement that I’d left. For the record, I now have no connection whatsoever with them.”
In response to Mr Willson’s comments, FairFuel UK’s co-founder Howard Cox told i Mr Willson is a “a consummate motoring professional”, adding he was grateful for his contribution to the campaign.
But he said “recollections may vary regarding Quentin’s decision to halt working with the campaign” adding that he had not spoken to Mr Willson for “well over” three years prior to his resignation from FairFuel UK.
Mr Cox insisted FairFuel UK does support electric vehicles, but opposes policy moves that would force low-income families and haulage companies into a “cliff edge diesel and petrol sales ban”.
i has approached Mr Willson for comment.
— to inews.co.uk