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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Neil Kinnock banned from driving
Lord Kinnock speaks to the media after the court case
Lord Kinnock already had nine points on his licence
Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has been banned from driving for six months after admitting two speeding offences.

The ex-European transport commissioner was also fined 800 with 43 costs by Abergavenny magistrates in south Wales.

Kinnock, 64, who already had nine points on his licence, was caught speeding twice on the M4 last year returning from Westminster.

Speaking outside court, he said the sentence "although massively inconvenient, is just".

"Speeding is a killer and I have campaigned all my life against speeding," he said.

"If you break the speed limit you can expect to be punished."

Asked how he would cope with being banned from driving, the peer - who led Labour from 1983 to 1992 - answered: "I'll manage, with difficulty, but I'll manage".

He is very sorry to be here today to find himself in an acutely difficult situation
Kerry Gwyther, defending

The court heard how he was travelling back from London on both occasions when he was photographed breaking the limit.

The offences had to be dealt with by magistrates because he already had nine penalty points on his driving licence, also for speeding offences.

Prosecutor Ceri Murphy told JPs: "On 26 June 2005, along the M4 between junctions 19 to 18, a speeding device photographed an Audi vehicle travelling 57mph - when the temporary speed limit was 40mph.

"The second offence on 29 September 2005 along the M4, an Audi A4 was photographed and was found to be travelling at 63mph when the road speed limit is 50."

Charitable work

On both occasions he was driving an Audi owned by his wife Glenys, a Welsh Euro-MP.

Kerry Gwyther, defending, told the court his client had instructed him not to use "exceptional hardship" as a reason for not getting a ban.

However, Mr Gwyther did say a ban would have an impact on the peer's charitable and public work.

He said: "This work is a considerable undertaking and does involve a lot of driving - some 18,000 miles a year. He will seriously miss being able to drive."

Speaking of the offences, he added: "Both times the condition was a clear stretch of road with no one else in the camera frame and no imminent danger to anyone else.

Lord Kinnock arriving at Abergavenny magistrates' court
The former Labour MP was fined 800 by Abergavenny magistrates

"He was going above the speed limit as a result of sheer inadvertence. He was travelling back from Westminster on both occasions.

"He is very sorry to be here today to find himself in an acutely difficult situation and he has shown remorse.

"He has come here and will accept the consequences for accumulating these points."

Magistrates' chair Sally Lewis told the peer: "For each of the speeding offences, there are three penalty points. You have now accumulated 15 points in three years.

"As such you are disqualified from driving for six months. For each offence you will be fined 400 - it would have been 600 but for your guilty plea."

He was warned not to drive during his ban and told he would have to reapply for his licence at the end of it.


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