The agency that controls the issuing of licence plates for cars in the UK has been criticised by a Conservative politician for banning offensive letter and number combinations.
Papers released to the Mail On Sunday under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Minister for Transport, Dr Stephen Ladyman, has already withdrawn the plate ‘H8 GAY’ from use.
H8 is text-speak for hate. Last April PinkNews.co.uk reported that Welsh Labour MP Chris Bryant had demanded that the DVLA withdraw the plate, which was owned by a gay couple.
Mr Bryant said: “If the DVLA sold H8 JEW or H8 WOG, there would rightly be a public outcry.
“Clearly this goes beyond the realms of free speech and is a directly and deliberately offensive and abusive statement.”
The Mail On Sunday also revealed the DVLA have an Ethnic Minority Action Group that has been consulted over the new 57 plates, which will be introduced later this year.
It has been decided that MO57 EMM and MU57 UM will not be issued, as they appear to spell out the word ‘Muslim.’
A senior Scottish Tory attacked the DVLA’s actions.
“If this political correctness extends any further, we will simply run out of letters to put on cars,” said Bill Aitken, a former whip in the Scottish Parliament, told the Mail.
“We are now getting to such ridiculous lengths there must be a school of thought that a significant percentage of the population are so sensitive they have to be protected from everything.
“This is total, utter and arrant nonsense which comes at a cost. Those responsible for this move should grow up and wise up.”
In response, a DVLA spokesman said:
“The DVLA’s Ethnic Minority Action Group has been in place for some years and provides valuable advice to the agency on matters affecting both our staff and customers.
“It is focused positively on enhancing the performance and achievements of the agency.”