Conservative MP Nicholas Soames was disqualified from driving for two months today after he pleaded guilty to riding a quad bike on a public road with no insurance.

The Mid Sussex MP, a grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, was filmed committing the offence by hunt saboteurs as he followed a New Year's Day hunt in Slaugham.

Footage showed a group of people, including three children aged three, five and seven and a pregnant woman, being carried unrestrained and without helmets on the Honda quad bike and trailer.

Prosecutor Nigel Pilkington told Crawley Magistrates' Court that a charge of using a vehicle in a dangerous condition against 60-year-old Soames had been withdrawn by the Crown.

He said the vehicle was ridden on private land and then briefly on the public highway to cross from one field to another at about 10mph at 12.30pm.

"Mr Soames accepts that as can be seen in the video, he was carrying a number of people in the vehicle and in the trailer, all of whom were unrestrained and all of whom were standing up," Mr Pilkington told the court.

"They included three children aged three, five and seven and a lady who was six months' pregnant. Had any injury occurred to his party,, or any others then there would have been no insurance in place to compensate the parties."

The court was told that Soames had three previous endorsements on his licence, all fixed penalties, one of which is out of date now but not at the time of the offence.

Tim Hayden, defending, said his client accepted that there was a short period when he drove the vehicle on the public highway but he was "cautious and careful".

He said: "This being an era of modern hunting, Mr Soames would not have known where the trail would have taken place so he needed to get from one field to another.

"I emphasise that his driving throughout was cautious and careful. The cargo that he was carrying were people that were close to him and that was the reason why he drove extremely carefully.

"It is not contended, you have heard, that the use of this vehicle was in any way dangerous.

"The prosecution do contend that the insurance cover did not extend to use on that stretch of the public highway. That's why we have accepted that in the event of an accident there would have been no insurance cover."

The footage featured in The Argus on January 4 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, Essex.

Mr Hayden said the images were passed by the hunt saboteurs to Sussex Police for investigation but also to the media which he described as a "vindictive act" to "embarrass" Soames.

Mr Hayden added: "The playing of it in that way is regarded by my client as a vindictive act even though he deals with the legal consequences through me.

"I ask that the court consider that it was done to embarrass him, and of course he is embarrassed by it, but all of the opprobrium that was directed at the time did not acknowledge the facts you have with you now."

Mr Hayden said Soames was candid with police in interview, providing to officers a copy of his insurance documents to highlight the lack of cover.

He added that the consequences of being disqualified would hinder his constituency work, particularly his efforts to safeguard acute services at his local hospital, the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath.

Included in documents handed to magistrates were letters from constituents, colleagues and a political opponent highlighting his work as an MP.

Addressing the court, Soames said banning him from driving would not limit him in conducting his work in Westminster but would in covering his Mid Sussex constituency.

He told the court: "It would be very difficult to deal with my constituency in the way that it has come to be expected of me."

Mr Hayden said Soames, of Bells Farm, Warninglid, Horsham, apologised for his lack of insurance cover.