UK Politics

Ed Balls admits being caught speeding

Ed Balls
Image caption Ed Balls opted to attend a speed awareness course

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has confessed to being caught speeding, saying he was "bang to rights".

The Labour MP said he was going at 56mph in a 50mph zone on the motorway in his West Yorkshire constituency.

Writing on his blog, he said he had paid a fine and attended a speed awareness course rather than accept penalty points.

Mr Balls was caught by the police using his mobile phone while driving during the 2010 general election campaign.

It was reported at the time that he had been fined £60 and given three points on his licence, but a spokesman for Mr Balls said police returned his cheque and the points were never applied, meaning he has a clean licence.

'Too fast'

The Morley and Outwood MP attempted to laugh off his latest motoring offence, saying he had been going "too far, too fast" - one of his favourite attack lines against the coalition's budget cuts.

"Like many local people, I was caught out by the never-ending roadworks on the M62," said Mr Balls.

"Pulling on to the motorway at Morley, I realised too late that the speed restrictions were still in place.

"I was caught and bang to rights - doing 56 in a 50 mile restriction zone.

"Going too far, too fast, you might say.

"I paid my fine and chose to attend a speed awareness course. I currently have no points on my licence and would like to keep it that way."

Describing his speed awareness course, he added: "I ended up in the Holiday Inn with 39 others.

"The course was very professional and actually really worthwhile."

'Fair cop'

Mr Balls said the experience had made him even more determined to get 20mph zones on busy roads in the area.

"What hit home were the statistics which link speed to car deaths. At 20mph, less than 10% of people will lose their lives if hit by a car.

"But the probability rises exponentially, going above 40% at 40mph."

Mr Balls was fined £60 and given three penalty points in April 2010 after being caught using his mobile phone during a late-night drive between his Yorkshire constituency and London.

He apologised for the incident and said it had been "a fair cop".

Commenting on the 2010 incident, a spokesman for Mr Balls said he had paid a fine by cheque to Thames Valley police and handed his licence to his local police station in Wakefield.

"Twenty-four hours after doing so the Sun newspaper reported the incident on its front page," said the spokesman.

"A couple of months later, Ed wrote to the authorities asking where his licence was as it had still not been returned.

"Rather oddly, they later wrote back and returned Ed's cheque, saying that they were not pursuing the matter any further, and the points were never applied.

"The licence was never returned and was reported as lost by Ed to the DVLA."

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