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Monday, September 7, 1998 Published at 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK


Labour MP fined for drink-driving

Cann was found to be almost twice over the limit

Labour MP Jamie Cann has been fined 1,000 and disqualified from driving for 18 months after being convicted of drink-driving.

The MP for Ipswich was stopped by police on 29 August and found to be nearly twice over the legal limit.

Magistrates in Felixstowe heard that Cann, 52, had been drinking the previous night and was still over the limit.

He had been stopped while driving in Martlesham, near Ipswich, with his wife Rosemary, the court heard.

Officers had initially wanted to talk to him about speeding but smelled alcohol on his breath and carried out a breath test.

Readings showed that the MP had 64 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

'No excuses'

Cann had led Ipswich Borough Council for 12 years and had been MP for Ipswich for six years, said Jonathan Ripman, in Cann's defence.

Mr Ripman said Cann had a 25-year clean driving record.

[ image: Jamie Cann: Pledged to help strengthen drink-drive laws]
Jamie Cann: Pledged to help strengthen drink-drive laws
He said his client had been working in Ipswich as he normally did on the Saturday that he was stopped.

"He [Cann] stresses that he had not had a drink in daylight hours," said Mr Ripman.

"On the Friday evening he had gone to bed very late having been unable to sleep and he had had a drink.

"There are no excuses he puts to the court. He takes full responsibility for his actions and he has no-one to blame but himself."

Mr Ripman added: "It is a great personal embarrassment to him but he will take his punishment and pay his fine today."

Magistrates disqualified Cann from driving for 18 months and fined him 1,000 as well as ordering him to pay 40 costs.

'Well over the limit'

Outside court, Cann told reporters that he had been drinking at home because he was having difficulty sleeping.

"I'm not sure exactly how much I had. That's one of the problems of drinking at home rather than in a pub," said the MP.

"Suffice it to say I had had enough to put me well over the limit when I went to bed.

"But I had absolutely no inkling that I was still over the limit the following day. If we had had any inkling whatever that I was over the limit, Rosie [Cann's wife] would have driven."

"It is up to the people of the town of Ipswich whether they want to keep me on as an MP at the next election," he added.

"I feel that I've got a good record and that I work hard."

Cann said he had been contacted by many people who were sympathetic to the problem of being caught over the limit after the previous night's drinking.

"For a lot of people losing their licence in this way would also mean they would lose their job and be an absolute disaster.

"It is those people I feel sorry for if they did not realise that they might still be over the limit."

Cann pledged to try to persuade the government to bring in measures to help people check whether they were over the limit after drinking the night before.

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