Glasgow provost’s car “uninsured” for at least three weeks


ONE of the luxurious private limousines used by Glasgow’s Lord Provost was uninsured for at least three weeks, according to the government’s official database.

The £80,000 Volkswagen Phaeton, used to ferry Cllr Sadie Docherty around the city, had no insurance between March 28 and February 19, according to the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

MID is the only central record of insured vehicles in the UK and is used by police and the DVLA to enforce motor insurance law.

The vehicle uses the plate “V0”, itself worth an estimated £500,000, but putting that registration into the MID database resulted in “not showing as insured”.

Glasgow Council insist the vehicle was insured at all times and claim the result on the MID database was an “admin error”.

A VW Phaeton (Credit: Wikipedia/M 96)
A VW Phaeton (Credit: Wikipedia/M 96)

However, not registering the correct information on the MID is itself against the law.

The blunder was spotted by road safety campaigning website Scotland’s Worst Drivers (SWD).

A spokesman for SWD said: “I find it incredible that, according to the database, this vehicle has been driven daily, transporting the Lord Provost and senior council officials, for many weeks if not months uninsured around Glasgow.

“I doubt we will ever know how many drivers have unknowingly broken the law due to the council’s incompetence, and what if they had had an accident?”

He added: “I find it shocking that a local authority who failed to insure an official car managed to get away with it for so long – I question why this has gone undetected by Police?

“I hope Police Scotland will be investigating. Glasgow Council cannot be seen as getting away with breaking the law and should be fined accordingly.”

When contacted for a comment Glasgow City Council (GCC) took two days to respond, eventually claiming that the vehicle has always been insured.

But they could not explain why the database did not hold their information as required by the “strict controls” on the insurance industry.

A council spokeswoman said: “Our insurers are aware of this admin error and the MID will be updated with the private registration. Our insurers are satisfied with this.

“The vehicle remains insured, regardless.”

Since the weekend the vehicle is now showing as insured on the database.

A spokesman for the MID said: “Insurers are required by law to update the MID with insurance policy details.

“When an individual takes out a new policy, or makes a change to an existing one, then under bureau rules agreed with the Department for Transport their insurer has a limited time to upload this information to the database.

Describing the database, he added: “It is subject to strict control. We expect all those involved to update insurance details in a timely fashion.”

The car’s number plate – “V0” – was also recently in the centre of a row over councils sitting on valuable private “vanity” plates which could be sold off the fund frontline services.

Recent research showed that the V0 and G0 council plates could be worth around £1m.

In total 11 council-operated vehicles across the country had plates thought to be worth around £3m.