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NOVEMBER 9, 2007

Sport affects politics!

Britain's Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support Lord Drayson has taken a "leave of absence" from the Labour government in order to take part in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2008. The 47-year-old has quit his job because he wants to take part in the American Le Mans Series, in order to qualify for Le Mans.

Lord Drayson, who has been a minister since 2005, came second in the British GT championship this year, driving a bio-ethanol-fuelled car.

In a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Lord Drayson said: "As you know I have a passion for motor racing and over the past year have competed in the British GT championship racing a unique bio-ethanol fuelled race car, achieving a historic first win for a green-fuelled car and coming second overall in the championship. A number of special circumstances have now presented me with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take my racing to the next level. I have the opportunity to race next year in the American Le Mans series in the US, a key step towards my eventual dream of success in the Le Mans 24-hours endurance race. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase British motorsport technology for environmentally friendly racing. Unfortunately it cannot be combined with the challenge of full-time government office."

Lord Drayson has been replaced by Baroness Ann Taylor and opposition politicians say that the whole motor racing story is simply a ruse to avoid a resignation so early in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's administration.