MP “ashamed” after third speeding offence

Nicholas Soames MP

Nicholas Soames MP

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Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames says he is “embarrassed and ashamed” after facing his third fine in four years for a speeding offence.

Mr Soames, 64, has stated his commitment to fighting speeding on roads, especially in his mainly rural constituency.

But his pledge did not prevent the MP himself falling foul of the law when he was clocked doing 51mph in his Audi in a 30mph zone.

He was caught in London Road, Handcross, on June 30 and pleaded guilty in person at Mid Sussex Magistrates’ Court in Haywards Heath on October 17.

Sussex Safer Roads Partnership’s communications manager Neil Hopkins told the Middy: “It is disappointing to see such a high-profile campaigner for lower speeds and increased road safety appearing before the magistrates on a speeding charge.

“All residents of and visitors to Sussex need to obey the local speed limits and road restrictions to ensure the safety of themselves and the communities that they pass through.

“I hope that Mr Soames will continue to see the importance of reducing speed in the community and improving levels of road safety throughout Sussex, and that this incident will remind all road users about the penalties that can arise from breaking the law.”

In a statement to the Middy, Mr Soames said: “I am of course embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed that I should have had to appear before the magistrates for a speeding offence, not least since I have a stated commitment to fight speeding on rural roads.

“I was rightly banned for two weeks and I was fined a total of over £700.”

The offence was the third for speeding that Mr Soames has accumulated in four years.

A different offence took place when he was photographed driving his Honda quad bike on a short stretch of public road in Slaugham, near his Warninglid home.

The bike had a trailer and passengers on board, including three young children and a pregnant woman. Mr Soames pleaded guilty to driving the vehicle on a public road without insurance after being filmed by hunt saboteurs who passed their footage to police. Subsequently, in May 2008, Mr Soames was disqualified for two months for the offence of no insurance.

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