Security minister Tom Tugendhat banned from driving for six months

Security minister Tom Tugendhat is banned from driving for six months after he was caught using mobile phone at the wheel of his 4×4

  • The Tory leadership contender said that he was using his phone to navigate
  • Security Minister has been banned for driving for six months and fined £1,000
  • He had already agreed to pay a penalty fine and surrender his driving licence 

Security minister Tom Tugendhat has been banned for driving for six months after he was caught using his mobile phone at the wheel. 

The Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, 49, has apologised after he was stopped by police in his Skoda 4×4 in Wandsworth in April. 

Mr Tugendhat, who stood for the Tory leadership after Boris Johnson stepped down, told an officer he was using his mobile phone to navigate, according to court papers. 

The Metropolitan Police sent him a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice later that month, and Mr Tugendhat agreed to pay the fine and surrender his driving licence. 

Mr Tugendhat admitted the offence earlier this month but claimed he was holding his phone and not using it.  

Tom Tugendhat, 49, (pictured arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday) has been banned for driving for six months

The Security Minister was caught using his mobile phone at the wheel of his Skoda 4×4 in Wandsworth in April

Mr Tugendhat, who lives in Clapham, southwest London, appeared for his sentencing hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday wearing a blue knitted tie and a navy suit. 

In entering a guilty plea to using a handheld mobile device while driving Tugendhat insisted: ‘I was holding my phone — not using it.’

In a handwritten plea statement Tugendhat said: ‘After the incident I took a course to refresh and correct my driving.

‘I accept my responsibility and recognise my culpability.’

He had also sent the court a copy of his driving course report, in which an instructor praised him as a ‘well-balanced driver’ who observes road rules and speed limits.

Tugendhat’s case was due to be dealt with at Bromley Magistrates’ Court earlier this month under the single justice procedure, where prosecutions are heard in private.

He appeared at court to confirm his name and address in Clapham.

Prosecutor Geraldine Dickinson told how PC Joseph Robson spotted the MP using his mobile phone while driving just after 2.30pm in Wandsworth High Street on April 14.

She said: ‘He noticed that the driver was using a handheld phone.

‘The device was being held in the driver’s left hand.

‘He saw this in broad daylight for around 20 seconds.’

She said the officer confirmed that Mr Tugendhat was not using the phone to call the emergency services.

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

Paul Morris, defending Tugendhat, said: ‘He accepts the prosecution facts as they are.

‘He cooperated fully with the police at the scene.

‘He is aware that he will face a period of disqualification which will have an impact on him.’

He did not offer any mitigation of ‘exceptional hardship’ that would be caused by Mr Tugendhat being banned from driving. 

District Judge Jack McGarva told the minister: ‘It is a serious offence, using a mobile phone in any way.

‘It impairs people’s ability to drive safely.

‘I would expect you to set a good example for the rest of us.’ 

Tugendhat was disqualified from driving for six month and fined £1,000.

Mr Tugendhat, who stood for the Tory leadership after Boris Johnson stepped down, told an officer he was using his mobile phone at the wheel to navigate, according to court papers

District Judge Jack McGarva told the minister at Westminster Magistrates Court (pictured): ‘It is a serious offence, using a mobile phone in any way. ‘It impairs people’s ability to drive safely’ (File image)

He will also have to pay a £100 surcharge and £110 towards the prosecution costs.

The Met Police had said Tugendhat tried to pay a fine over the incident when first contacted in April.

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

He also attended an advanced driving course in May, where he was assessed as low risk. 

The offence was sent to court for prosecution because he already had six penalty points on his driving record. 

A spokesperson for Tugendhat had said: ‘Tom was stopped by police in April this year for holding his phone while driving. He accepts that holding his phone while driving is an offence. Tom immediately put himself on a driving course of his own volition.

‘He received the court documents six months later and has entered a guilty plea. He apologises unreservedly and will accept the outcome of the case.’

Tugendhat informed the Home Office permanent secretary about the driving offence after he was appointed as a minister in September.

He was appointed to the Home Office role by Liz Truss and retained by Rishi Sunak.

Source: Read Full Article