Sussex MP Nicholas Soames is to be prosecuted over the use of his quad bike at a new year's day hunt.

The politician, a grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, was filmed towing a trailer carrying adults and children on the road near his home.

A summons has been issued to bring the 60-year-old Conservative to court on insurance and safety offences.

He can expect to receive penalty points on his licence and a fine of at least £200 if he is convicted.

Mr Soames was filmed driving down a road in Plummers Plain, near Horsham, as he followed the Crawley and Horsham Hunt on new year's day.

Hunt monitors, who follow the hunt to check if foxes are illegally pursued, passed the footage to the press.

Mr Soames had a child perched behind him on the bike and was pulling four adults and two children on the trailer when the footage was taken.

None of the passengers was strapped in or wearing safety helmets.

The former minister and friend of Prince Charles is due to face two criminal charges before magistrates next month.

He is accused of having no insurance for his quad bike and trailer and of using a motor vehicle or trailer on the road where its use could involve danger of injury to a person.

He was unavailable for comment last night.

When the quad bike footage was first published Mr Soames said the protesters were trying to claim a high-profile scalp by making the police complaint.

Simon Wilde, the hunt monitor who took the film, said: "I do welcome the prosecution.

"It was very dangerous even if they had been on private land."

He said hunt monitors face strict checks from police over the insuring of their vehicles, so members or supporters of hunts should get the same treatment.

Road safety charity Brake said it welcomes police enforcement of the laws surrounding quad bikes.

A spokeswoman said: "If quad bikes are being driven on the road they must meet the legal requirements.

"Quad bikes need to be treated with the same respect as you would treat a car or motorbike.

"They are powerful machines which can kill if you mishandle them.

"They need to be treated with respect not like an oversized toy, which is unfortunately how they are often used."

All vehicles on the road must be registered with the DVLA, taxed and have an MoT certificate, lights and a number plate to be used legally.

Offenders who receive police fixed penalty notices for driving without insurance are normally fined £200 and have their driving licence endorsed.

Mr Soames has been a Sussex MP for 25 years, representing Crawley from 1983 to 1997 and Mid Sussex for nearly 11 years.

His career has taken him from Eton to the army, the stock exchange and a junior defence post in John Major's government.

In December, when he was called as a witness at the inquest into Princess Diana's death, he said he had been a friend of Prince Charles for more than 50 years.

He served as an equerry to the prince in the 1970s.

Mr Soames is due to appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court on April 16.

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