MP to face driving charge

AN Essex MP is to appear in court next month after being charged with careless driving.

Elliot Furniss

AN Essex MP is to appear in court next month after being charged with careless driving.

Simon Burns, Conservative MP for West Chelmsford, will attend Westminster Magistrates' Court to answer the charge, which relates to an incident in London last year.

Mr Burns, 56, was driving his Land Rover Freelander outside the House of Commons on April 3 last year when he was involved in a collision with a male cyclist.

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The cyclist was injured and air lifted to hospital by helicopter and at the time his injuries were described as “not life threatening”.

Mr Burns was breathalysed at the scene in Parliament Square and the sample he provided tested negative.

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A date for the hearing has not been set but yesterday, Mr Burns told the East Anglian Daily Times he would be pleading not guilty.

Mr Burns, a father-of-two, became MP for Chelmsford in June 1987 and was elected as MP for West Chelmsford in May 1997.

He has held the position ever since and during his time in parliament has been a shadow health minister and member of the health select committee.

Conservative leader David Cameron appointed him an Opposition whip in December 2005.

He was educated in Ghana and Lincolnshire and obtained a BA honours degree in modern history from Worcester College, Oxford.

Before being elected, Mr Burns worked as a political advisor and a journalist.

One of his biggest successes in his parliamentary career so far was successfully piloting through his private member's bill - the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999 - to tighten up the law on football hooligans.

If convicted of careless driving, Mr Burns faces a possible fine, penalty points or driving ban.

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