The news that shadow chancellor Ed Balls has been fined for jumping a red light when leaving Parliament earlier this year got us wondering which other politicians have had their wrists slapped over traffic offences.
So in no particular order, here are a few:
1. Chris Huhne
In a case which ended well for precisely no-one (not even the barrister), the former energy secretary and his former wife Vicky Pryce found themselves doing a stretch inside after being convicted of perverting the course of justice. As we’re all no doubt aware by now, the offence came about after Pryce took speeding points for her then husband when he was caught speeding on the M11. While it could be argued that the conviction wasn’t for a traffic offence in itself, we’ve made a unilateral decision to include it anyway.
2. Harriet Harman
The deputy leader of the Labour party was fined £350 and ordered to pay £75 costs in 2010 after being convicted of driving without due care and attention. Harman’s car was allegedly involved in a contretemps with a parked car, but she escaped a charge of driving while using a mobile phone. It turns out that the minister is no stranger to the unwelcome sight of a fixed penalty notice dropping onto the doormat – she already had six penalty points on her licence after twice being caught speeding and had actually been banned from driving in 2003.
3. Ed Balls
The politician who famously Tweeted his own name thus spawning a thousand memes has actually now been caught twice breaking the rules of the road. In April, he was caught driving at 56mph in a 50mph zone but chose to attend a speed awareness course rather than see his licence endorsed. This time, however, he got three penalty points and a fine of £350.
4. Simon Burns
Transport minister Simon Burns was convicted of careless driving in 2009 after injuring a cyclist in a collision outside Parliament. He was fined £400 and ordered to pay £200 in legal costs. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Burns uses a chauffeur-driven car to travel to work which costs the taxpayer £80,000 per year; at least it’ll make cyclists between Essex and Westminster feel just that tiny bit safer.
5. Nicholas Soames
The Conservative MP and former defence minister was banned from driving last year following his third speeding conviction in four years. Revelling in the nickname of ‘Fatty’ (according to the Mirror), Soames had previously received a ban for riding a quad bike on a public road without insurance.
6. Eric Joyce
The former Labour MP for Falkirk stepped down from his position as shadow Northern Ireland minister after being found guilty of drink-driving in 2010. He was banned for a year and fined £400 as well as spending a night in the cells. In case you think his name sounds a bit familiar, you’d be right — he was arrested in 2012 following a punch-up in a Parliament bar and arrested yet again in March this year for another alleged altercation in the House of Commons bar.
Do you know of any others? Tell us in the comments.
Photo by Paul Shears in the Londonist Flickr pool.