PM to email road petitioners

Million people who signed online petition against road pricing plans to be emailed by Tony Blair
Million people who signed online petition against road pricing plans to be emailed by Tony Blair

More than a million people who signed an online petition against the government's road pricing plans will receive an email from Tony Blair this week.

The prime minister said that although he does not agree with the petition, which at one point crashed the Downing Street website due to demand, he welcomed the fact it had helped to "spark" a national debate on the issue.

The organisers of the protest had utilised a section of the prime minister's own website allowing petitions to be created directly on it.

But transport secretary Douglas Alexander accused its creators of spreading myths about road pricing after they described the plans as "sinister and wrong".


Writing in the Observer however, Mr Blair insisted that the petition represented an "opportunity, not because I share the petition's views - I don't - but because I know the country needs to have a full debate on how we tackle road congestion".

"Over the next few days, I will be sending out a response to everyone who has signed the petition against road charging, explaining the problems the country faces and why I believe road charging is surely part of the answer here as it is in many other countries," he said.

"I am convinced, however, that the focus on this issue that the e-petition has brought about will help improve our understanding of the problems and the realisation that there are no cost-free answers."

The prime minister went on to say: "And that surely has got to be good news for the health of our democracy and for the chances of our country coming up with the right and sustainable solutions to the long-term challenges we face."

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