Ed Balls under police investigation over 'fail-to-stop collision' outside West Yorkshire offices

Shadow chancellor's car was filmed crashing into parked vehicle in West Yorkshire - before driving off

It was an open goal for his critics who have long enjoyed comparing Labour’s stewardship of the economy to the proverbial car crash.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was today forced to apologise after it emerged he had driven off after damaging another vehicle whilst exercising a tricky manoeuvre in his Morley constituency.

Mr Balls, who has a history of minor road traffic infringements including talking on a mobile phone whilst driving, said he had not been aware of pranging a black Peugeot 306 earlier this month insisting he believed he had merely “touched bumpers”.

As he prepared to spend the day arguing that Britain was in the grip of a cost of living crisis despite a rash of positive economic figures, the MP found much of the media focus was on his performance behind the wheel of a car rather than what he might do should he get the keys to Number 11 Downing Street.

West Yorkshire Police confirmed that it was investigating the “fail to stop collision” on 5 April. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a £5,000 fine and up to 10 penalty points.

The incident had been caught on CCTV and the registration traced as the family car used by Mr Balls and his wife, shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. 

After news of the incident leaked to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Mr Balls issued a statement. “10 days ago, I turned our car round in a tight spot in the private drive beside the Labour rooms in Morley. There was a stationary car parked close by.

“The turn took five or seven points and I was aware that at one point the bumpers of the two cars touched. I park there all the time in what is a relatively narrow drive. But until I was contacted the following Wednesday, I had no awareness at all that there had been any damage to the other car.

“As soon as I was made aware of what had happened, I took full responsibility for any damage caused. I have written to the owner of the other car to say I was terribly sorry and to reimburse the owner concerned for the necessary repair.

“I have contacted our insurance company in the usual way.”

Unable to resist, Chancellor George Osborne's ministerial aide Rob Wilson wrote on Twitter: “Ed Balls has crashed the car again. Thankfully nobody hurt... rather unlike when he crashed our economy.”

Sergeant Adrian Wright, of West Yorkshire Police's Eastern Area Roads Policing Unit, said the owner of the vehicle had contacted officers the following day.” Damage was caused to the front offside wing of a parked black Peugeot 306. Inquiries are ongoing,” he said.

During the 2010 election campaign Mr Balls was caught using a mobile phone whilst driving from London to his West Yorkshire constituency. He said he had taken the device off the hands-free cradle so as not to wake his children and was fined £60 and received three points on his licence. In June last year it emerged Mr Balls had been fined £350 and given another three points after pleading guilty to going through a red light in his car following a late-night Commons sitting. Two months earlier he had been caught doing 56mph in a 50mph motorway zone. He agreed to attend a speed awareness course rather than receive points.

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz