David Cameron got in the driving seat on Wednesday for the first time in more than a year – steering the 2,000,000th new Mini off the production line in Oxford.
The Prime Minister was given the honour at the plant in Cowley where the new-look Minis have been manufactured since 2001.
Speaking before getting behind the steering wheel, Mr Cameron, MP for nearby Witney, said: “There are lots of great things you get to do as Prime Minister, but one of those things you don’t get to do is drive a car.
“For over a year now, I haven’t driven a car, so I can’t tell you what pleasure it’s going to give me to get into the 2,000,000th Mini.”
Mr Cameron drove the car on to the assembly area floor where staff were waiting, having first slightly overshot the corner, causing him to have to reverse to complete the manoeuvre.
He could be forgiven for having some difficulties – not just because he has not driven since becoming Prime Minister, but because it was a left-hand-drive car.
After driving the short distance he said it had been “a thrill” and added: “Minis have been a fantastic success story, not just for Oxford but for the UK. For me personally, it’s a bit of a thrill because I don’t get to drive any more – even though it was only 20 yards.”
Mr Cameron, who was on his first visit to the plant, congratulated Mini staff and said he was “very proud” to be there to mark the achievement. He told workers: “It’s a remarkable story, to take that iconic British brand, to give it this great modernisation and then to produce version after version. It has had enormous success all over the world. It is a fantastic success story.”
The 2,000,000th Mini to be made at the site is to be entered into a draw at the end of September, with one lucky Facebook user driving off with the silver car. The company is trying to get 2,000,000 people signed up to its Facebook page to mark the production of the landmark car. Mr Cameron made his own mark on it, signing his name on one of its panels.