UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat banned from driving for six months

Conservative MP was caught holding his mobile phone while driving

UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. PA
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UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat has been banned from driving for six months for holding his mobile phone at the wheel.

The Conservative MP, who lives in Clapham, south-west London, was stopped by police in April while driving his Skoda 4x4 in Wandsworth.

Prosecutor Geraldine Dickinson told Westminster Magistrates' Court that he was pulled over on Wandsworth High Street.

The officer "noticed that the driver was using a hand-held phone", she said.

"The device was being held in the driver's left hand. He saw this in broad daylight for around 20 seconds," she said.

Mr Tugendhat, who previously stood for leader of the Conservative Party, was not using the phone to call the emergency services, she said.

"It was confirmed that they were using maps," she said.

Mr Tugendhat's lawyer, Paul Morris, did not offer any mitigation of "exceptional hardship" that would be caused by a driving ban.

Judge Jack McGarva said using a mobile phone was a distraction while driving.

“You have pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and I give you full credit," he said.

"It is a serious offence, using a mobile phone in any way impairs people’s ability to drive ... I would expect you to set an example to the rest of us in terms of your conduct.”

Mr Tugendhat received six penalty points on his driving licence for the offence, adding to the six he had for two previous offences — leading to the six-month ban.

He also received a £1,000 ($1,185) fine and was ordered to pay a surcharge of £100 and costs of £110.

Mr Tugendhat admitted the offence earlier this month, but said he was not using his phone while he drove.

In a written guilty plea to Bromley Magistrates' Court, which heard the case in private under the single justice procedure, he said: "After the incident I took a course to refresh and correct my driving.

"I have included the result of the course. Please accept the course report.

"I accept my responsibility and recognise my culpability."

The Metropolitan Police sent Mr Tugendhat a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice in April and he agreed to pay the fine and surrender his licence, court papers showed.

The offence was sent to court for prosecution due to the six penalty points already on his record.

Updated: November 17, 2022, 12:40 PM
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