Conservative MP Nicholas Soames will appear before magistrates today on charges relating to footage allegedly showing him riding a quad bike on a public road with a child perched behind him.

Soames, 60, has been summoned to appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court to face alleged insurance and safety offences under Section 40a of the Road Traffic Act, a Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said.

The child was filmed riding behind Mid Sussex MP Soames, a grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, as he allegedly towed two more children in a trailer in Slaugham while following a New Year's Day hunt.

It was claimed that the children were not strapped in or wearing crash helmets in the footage, which was shot by hunt saboteurs and featured in The Argus on January 4.

The images were published following the death on Boxing Day of seven-year-old Elizabeth Cooke, who was involved in an accident while riding a quad bike on a public road in Blackmore.

Eton-educated Soames, who served as Armed Forces minister from 1994 to 1997, has represented Mid Sussex since 1997 and previously served as MP for Crawley.