Former law chief gets driving ban

The solicitor general for the last government failed to dissuade magistrates from banning her from driving after she was caught speeding at nearly 100mph.

The former Redcar MP Vera Baird, 60, will not be allowed to get behind the wheel of a car for half a year after she pleaded guilty to driving at 98mph on the M4 near Miskin.

She had used all her eloquence in court to attempt to preserve her licence. But, magistrates at Pontypridd, south Wales, rejected her lengthy arguments and handed her five penalty points, which added to the seven already on her licence, triggering an automatic six-month disqualification.

Baird, who was unexpectedly ousted as the MP for Redcar in the general election, was also fined £400. She left court to take a train home and admitted: "It was a fast bit of driving. I thought that the magistrates listened carefully and were perfectly reasonable."

Baird, of Crouch Hill, Crouch Inn, London, was caught speeding in her silver Hyundai Coupe between junctions 34 and 35 of the M4 on August 30. At the time of the offence, she was still solicitor general under the last Labour government.

She told magistrates on Wednesday she was driving down to Limeslade Bay, near Swansea, to see a friend who had had a fall. She had been due to go on holiday with the friend three weeks later but the injury meant it had to be cancelled.

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