As the cold snap continued with the Arctic weather leaving the UK's road network at a perilous standstill and Christmas deliveries and supplies threatened by deteriorating conditions there have been increasing demands on the Government to bring the treacherous roads to justice.
'It's appalling,' thundered stranded motorist Dave Howard deep on the M5. 'The authorities just go on and on about how dangerous and treacherous the roads are and do nothing about apprehending them,' adding, 'I didn't vote for a coalition for this.'
The same concerns are being voiced by pedestrians ‘I’m afraid to go out now that there are treacherous pavements roaming the neighbourhood,’ said 75 year old Peckham pensioner Gladys Alyward. ‘I’m a prisoner in my own home. It’s just not good enough. They wouldn’t be allowed to treat animals like this.’
With Transport Minister Philip Hammond ‘working from home’ due poor rail conditions, Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke was left to field an avalanche of questions on Radio 4's Today programme. After forcing Mr Clarke to admit that the roads and pavements were indeed treacherous, the interviewer suggested that the Government had 'failed to act' and this must be a 'further example of the coalition's softness on crime'.
Mr Clarke gritted his teeth and defended himself. 'I can assure you there have been no Government slip ups. We have been working very hard with the Crown Prosecution Service and believe we are close to being able to bring a charge of treason against the nation’s roads and pavements,’ he announced. ‘We have tried to be reasonable and give them a chance to improve their conduct, but their persistent bad behaviour has shown that it is time for us to take action.’
Just to rub salt into their wounds, there have been rumours that the Mr Clarke had only been provoked into action following an approach from the United States who were considering an extradition application. These stories were given an icy reception by a Downing Street spokesman as he tried to throw cold water on them, but they could yet land the Government in hot water.