Guido suspects he got the same tip off as the Mail’s “stilleto sharp and terrifyingly well-informed” diarist Sebastian Shakespeare last week. It claimed that Labour’s pink van was on the road illegally, having failed to be correctly registered with the DVLA. Obviously Guido was excited to have a chance to take a pop at long time enemy Harman for breaking the law. Alas the story fell apart after one Google search and a phone call to the vehicle regulator. Checks that the Mail’s Shakeseare evidently failed to make…
The claim was that Labour had not updated the Vehicle Licensing Authority to the fact that their white Ford Transit had now been sprayed pink:
“Harriet Harman’s women-only Barbie battle bus has already been derided as ‘sexist’, a ‘gimmick’ and ‘patronising’ to female voters. But now the hapless van is the source of fresh controversy as it emerges that it is in breach of vehicle licensing regulations. According to records held by the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA), the four-ton, 16-seater Ford Transit van is white, not pink — nor, indeed, ‘cerise’ or ‘magenta’, as Labour MPs Gloria De Piero and Harman have variously claimed. A change in the colour of a vehicle should be registered with the DVLA and failure to do so is a serious offence. ‘Any failure to inform the DVLA about changing the colour of the vehicle can be punishable with a £1,000 fine,’ confirms a DVLA spokesman.”
This ran in the Mail on Saturday, yet last Thursday the DVLA website stated very clearly that the van was “Pink”. Guido understands that this change was made earlier in the year. The story is a dud yet the Mail still ran it in full.
Did they even type the number plate into the DVLA website, or just take the email tip-off hook, line and sinker?