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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Slipped disc

By Guto Harri
Political correspondent

POSTED: Tuesday 3 May, 1620BST

Near panic briefly prevailed on the Conservative battlebus today - not because of any new intelligence about voting intentions but because of an expired tax disc.

04-05 Oh dear
How could a leader who preaches the virtues of playing by the rules ride in a vehicle with no valid tax disc?

Aides - who swiftly checked it out - insist that a new disc has already been purchased, but the bus has not had a chance to return to Preston to pick it up.

UPDATED 1655BST: Mr Howard has now ordered that the bus be taken off the road until the new disc can be delivered. One of his spokesman said it was the responsibility of the bus company but Mr Howard had decided the only appropriate course of action was to park the bus on private property until a new disc could be brought down from the company's headquarters.

UPDATED 1720BST: It never rains but it pours. Mr Howard has now had to delay his his arrival at Rushden because of the crowds round satirist Rory Bremner. It's also started to rain heavily - that's never welcome, but opponents might smile at the thought of Mr Howard sitting on GMTV's sofa this morning saying: "The past two days have been fantastic because the sun has been shining - it makes such a difference."

He could use this as a good reason to complain about the recent drop in quality of Royal Mail service, and promise to improve it if elected.
Stuart Hedges, Canterbury, Kent

You couldn't make it up, could you?
Rod, Newhaven UK

Mr Howard needs to get with the times. Vehicles now need tax even when they are off the road. Unless you apply for a "Statutory Off Road Notification" - http://www.dvla.gov.uk/vehicles/unlicensed.htm Mind you, of course it is the responsibility of the registered keeper of the vehicle, not a passenger. Now wash your hands... ;)
Mark, Cardiff

What a wimp! By all means purchase a tax disc and diplay it ASAP but ASAP means just that. Anyone who promises to get rid of more than half of those paid by the State to harrass the other half with petty nonsense would get my vote.
Huw, Aberaeron Wales

I think it is pathetic for the media to even spend time to cover this issue. Surely, there are more important issues than the late renewal of a tax disc (by a few days out). I thought the news was to report something interesting and unusual - this is far from that.
Munir, Guildford

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