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‘Anti-speed’ Sussex MP tells of shame at totting ban
An MP who campaigns against speeding has been banned from the roads after being repeatedly caught driving too fast.
Nicholas Soames was clocked travelling at 51mph in a 30mph zone in his Audi – the third time he has been caught flouting traffic laws in four years.
After the ruling at Mid Sussex Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (October 17), the Mid Sussex MP told The Argus: “These things happen. Haven’t you ever gone over the speed limit?”
But one angry father, whose baby son died in a crash in Mr Soames’s constituency, accused the MP of thinking he was “above the law”.
Mr Soames, who is Winston Churchill’s grandson, was spotted speeding in London Road, Handcross, in June. He already had six points on his licence for offences in November 2009 and March 2011.
On his official website he pledges to “fight speeding traffic all over the constituency and improve road safety for all”.
Mr Soames said: “I’m embarrassed to have found myself in front of the bench and I certainly regret the whole thing.
“I’m disappointed that I breached my own standards in this matter.”
The 64-year-old, who pleaded guilty in writing, was banned from driving for two weeks, given a £666 fine, and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Steve Mohabir was the only survivor of a two-car crash in May 2004 on the A23 at Pyecombe in Mr Soames’ constituency.
The smash, which was caused by a speeding car, left eight people dead including his baby son.
He said Mr Soames should be “ashamed” to be caught driving too fast for a third time.
He said: “Mr Soames clearly thinks he is above the law. I can’t believe he said ‘these things happen’ because they just shouldn’t.
“My son lost his life and we are still coming to terms with it. He obviously doesn’t care about safety or anyone else on the road.”
A spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Speed limits are in place for everyone’s safety, and it is particularly alarming to see a public figure like Nicholas Soames repeatedly flouting traffic laws and needlessly putting lives at risk.
“A two-week ban and a £666 fine is simply not enough, and we would like to see courts hand out tougher penalties to traffic offenders in order to create a real deterrent.”
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