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Slammer beckons

January 2008

Billy Bunter look-alike and Prince Charles groupie Nicholas Soames MP is under investigation by the fuzz.

Soames was filmed riding a quad bike on a public road a child is seen behind Mid Sussex MP Mr Soames as he towed two more children in a trailer in Slaugham, West Sussex, while following a New Year's Day hunt.

A spokesman for West Sussex Wildlife Protection, which monitors the Crawley and Horsham hunt for offences under the Hunting Act, said: "Initially we heard Nicholas Soames was on a quad bike that was overloaded. We thought nothing of it, because with his considerable bulk this was quite likely. However we were astonished to see him on a public road just north of his home at Bells Farm, Slaugham, West Sussex, with several unrestrained young children and adults racing along on a quad bike with no registration plate. He was desperate to keep up with the hunt and seemed unworried if the children lost their teeth on the metal rim of his quad bike trailer."

He also appears to be driving on the wrong side of the road.

None of the children are seen to be strapped in or wearing crash helmets in the footage which was shot by hunt monitors. A spokeswoman for Mr Soames said today he was away and had no comment.

He told the Mirror: "I hold my hands up, I was on a public road. I didn't realise I was breaking the law but ignorance is no defence. I'm sorry."

This is one case, where the courts must be merciless.

Pictured : Tory MP Nicholas Soames, who The Sunday Times famously dubbed Fat Boy Dim, filmed driving the quad bike and trailer bearing no registration plate contrary to the Road Traffic Act and illegally loaded with five adults and several unrestrained children.

In 2001 I put down an Early Day Motion on the way the Dyfed-Powys Police had imprioned some of my innocent constituents for feeding ducks.

That this House notes the arrest by Dyfed-Powys Police of 12 ramblers caught in the act of feeding ducks and their subsequent imprisonment for five hours; notes the comment of the group's solicitor that the police are 'keen to arrest people if there is a fox hunt nearby' even when those concerned are not involved in any protest; is delighted that the ramblers have been compensated for wrongful arrest; and looks forward for similar diligence from the police in apprehending hunters when their activity becomes unlawful.