POLITICS

Ed Balls Fined For Car Accident But Avoids Driving Ban

05/08/2014 12:14 BST | Updated 05/08/2014 12:59 BST

The man who said Tory spending cuts went "too far, too fast," and did the same in his car when he pranged another driver, has avoided a driving ban.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was ordered to pay more than £1,000 in fines and costs and has had five points put on his driving licence after admitting failing to stop after a collision.

The threat of being taken off the road had loomed as he already had points for running a red light in 2012.

ed balls

Ed Balls damaged another car and did not stop

He touched the bumper of another car as he was moving out of a car park next to the Labour Unity Club, in his West Yorkshire constituency in April, causing minor damage.

Balls did not attend the hearing at Leeds Magistrates' Court today.

District Judge Roy Anderson read a letter from his solicitors admitting the offences of failing to stop and failing to report an accident.

He said Mr Balls's account was that he did not realise at the time that he had caused any damage to the parked Peugeot 308 as he moved out of the car park in his Ford Mondeo.

The district judge ordered the shadow chancellor to pay a £900 fine plus a £90 government surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

Judge Anderson said: "Motorists who leave the scene of accidents without stopping to exchange particulars will, in serious cases, face a penalty which includes disqualification from driving.

"This, however, is a case very much at the lower end of the scale of seriousness.

"No injury was caused to any person and the damage to the car was, in reality, very slight.

"While Mr Balls was careless to a minor degree in colliding with the parked car, it's quite clear that if he had stopped at the time to exchange details, this matter would never have been the subject of criminal proceedings."

Earlier, the court heard the offences carried a possible prison sentence.

Smiling, the district judge said: "I have been sent a bundle of paperwork and, having read it, that would be a most unlikely penalty."

Balls said he had been negotiating a "tight spot" in the drive next to the Labour club.

He said: "The turn took five or seven points and I was aware that at one point the bumpers of the two cars touched.

"I park there all the time in what is a relatively narrow drive. But until I was contacted the following Wednesday, I had no awareness at all that there had been any damage to the other car. As soon as I was made aware of what had happened,

I took full responsibility for any damage caused.

"I have written to the owner of the other car to say I was terribly sorry and to reimburse the owner concerned for the necessary repair. I have contacted our insurance company in the usual way."