Former government minister Margaret Hodge apologises after dooring cyclist

Story weight: 
2

Former government minister Margaret Hodge has apologised to a cyclist whom she struck while opening her car door yesterday evening, and has denied that she was using a mobile phone when the incident happened.

The BBC says that the cyclist involved was unharmed in the incident, which took place at around 6pm yesterday evening in the MP’s Barking Constituency, where she was canvassing ahead of today’s local elections.

"Mrs Hodge had parked her car and the engine was switched off,” said a statement from her office.

"As she was getting out of the vehicle she struck a cyclist with the car door.

"She acknowledges that the accident was completely her fault and that she should have been more careful, which she will be in future.

"She apologised profusely to the cyclist, who was unharmed. They shook hands before he went on his way.

"Mrs Hodge had her mobile phone in her hand as she left the car but was not using it," the statement added.

The politician, elected to the House of Commons in 1994, is currently chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

The 68-year-oldhas held three separate ministerial positions from 2003 to 2010 – first as Minister for Children, then Work and finally Culture and Tourism, losing that job when the Coalition Government came to power.

She’s not the first minister to have accepted responsibility for a collision involving a cyclist.

As we reported last year, in 2009 Simon Burns, MP for Chelmsford West, and currently Minister of State for Transport, was convicted of careless driving as a result of an incident in which a cyclist’s neck was broken in two places.

Initially he pleaded not guilty, but subsequently admitted his guilt and was fined £400, ordered to pay £200 in costs and had his driving licence endorsed with four penalty points.

When he was interviewed by police after the incident in April 2008, which occurred as he drove his Range Rover out of the Commons Car Park and into Westminster Square, the MP - then in opposition - claimed the road had been clear.

CCTV footage however clearly showed the victim - Army Major Stuart Lane – with Mr Burns’ manoeuvre, according to the prosecution, making a collision “inevitable.”

Earlier in 2012, Mr Burns’ predecessor at the Department for Transport, Theresa Villiers, was herself the victim in a cycling incident, the MP for Chipping Barnet breaking her collarbone after a fall from her bike while riding to work.