Drink drive Camberley councillor tells of "deep regret"

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By mattcollison | Wednesday, October 03, 2012, 11:18

A COUNCILLOR from Camberley has spoken of his "deep regret" after he was convicted for a drink driving offence.

County councillor Stuart Macleod drank two pints of beer at a pub with friends before driving to collect his son from nursery on June 8.

He was pulled over by police and later fined and handed a 12 months driving ban by magistrates after refusing to take a second breath test at Woking Police Station.

In his blog, the councillor for Windlesham, Bagshot and Lighwater East, reveals his feelings of guilt over the matter and that he had considered resigning.

He said: "Naturally, I'm deeply saddened by the series of events. It has already had a negative effect personally, professionally and politically, with logistical challenges at home, business contacts lost or deferred and my feeling it necessary to resign the whip at County Hall. All for the sake of a pint.

"But most difficult of all, I do feel incredibly guilty about the potential risk that I may have caused to other road users on June 8."

Cllr Macleod was stopped by police in three patrol cars and took a roadside breathalyser test with a reading of 41mg, above the 35mg legal limit.

He said: "I got into my car and had driven approximately 100 yards when I was stopped by Surrey Police. Three cars as it happened. 

"I asked one of the PCs why it had taken three cars to undertake the stop and it transpired that 'a call had been made' and that they were waiting."

He was charged and later convicted with refusal to provide a specimen after refusing a second test.

The conviction has led to a call for the Conservative councillor's resignation.

Richard Wilson, a Surrey Heath Labour supporter, said: "It is very disappointing that someone in a position of responsibility like a county councillor should break the law.

"It is double disgraceful that what he did endangered the public, and even his own child who he was on his way to pick up from nursery.

"Drink drivers cause huge numbers of injuries and deaths to innocent members of the public every year due to their selfish actions.

"However, the most shocking part of this episode is his refusal to cooperate with the police and give a second breath sample at the station."

He added: "Now he should resign from office so we can have a by-election and elect a new councillor who will represent Windlesham, Bagshot and Lightwater East instead of endangering our lives and undermining our police. 

"I would like him to meet victims of drink drivers' accidents and look them in the eye so that he appreciates the consequences of his actions, I don't think he does yet."

Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said: "I heard his comment from his blog and he seems to have learnt his lesson, so to speak. His point is that it has disrupted his life enormously and if we had a lower drink drive limit maybe he wouldn't have had that period of disruption."

He added: "We can all say he shouldn't have done it at all. The purist in me says that. It would have been better if he hadn't even stopped at the pub. He has faced the consequences."

Clr Macleod said he intends to represent his division until June 2013 following his election in 2009.




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