Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister tonight branded the law which saw him fined for riding his motorbike without tax or MOT “absurd”.
Sammy Wilson, the Democratic Unionist MP and MLA for East Antrim, was fined £40 (€51) for the offence.
He was caught by a camera detection unit on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast – a short distance from the Stormont Parliament Buildings.
The red faced minister said he had been on the way to have a pre-MOT service carried out on the motorcycle when he was caught and had been unaware he was doing anything wrong.
Calling for a review of the law the bike mad politician – he has five motorcycles – said: “I suspect there are a lot of people who take their cars which are neither taxed or MOT’d to go and get them checked before an MOT so they don’t fail.
“Probably they don’t know they are breaking the law, I certainly did not know I was breaking the law.”
He added: “I still think the interpretation of the law, in the eyes of most people, would seem to be absurd.”
He said people were allowed to drive their vehicles on the public road after it had failed a test – why not when they were being pro-active and taking it to be checked to stop it failing.
The minister’s brush with the law was plastered across the front and several inside pages of the Belfast published Sunday Life newspaper.
His department was swift to issue a statement declaring all was now legal: “A motorcycle registered to the Minister was detected by a DVA camera detection unit when it was on the road while unlicensed.
“The case was dealt with using standard procedures applied to all such detections and the appropriate penalty was paid. The vehicle is now licensed.”
It is not the first time the minister’s private activities have been spread across the pages of Sunday newspapers.
Some years ago pictures of Mr Wilson gambolling naked in a field during a holiday in France caused much hilarity in political circles.