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Michael Heseltine 'apologises unreservedly' to cyclist injured in crash

Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has apologised to a cyclist he knocked off his bike after the Tory grandee was fined £5,000 for causing the crash.

Michael Heseltine appeared at Northampton Magistrates' Court on Thursday and entered a guilty plea to a charge of careless driving.

In a statement after the hearing he said he was "unreservedly" sorry to the cyclist and that his concern throughout had been for the injured man's well-being.

The 83-year-old ex cabinet minister, driving a green Jaguar, pulled out of a country lane and into the path of the cyclist on the B4525 near Thenford in Northamptonshire on June 19 last year.

It is understood Lord Heseltine's view of the cyclist had been obscured by an overgrown hedge on a bend, just before the collision near his home.

As he pulled out - in a manoeuvre the ex MP had carried out hundreds of times before at the same crossroads - he hit the cyclist.

He had estimated the rider's speed coming down the hill to have been nearly 30mph, but accepted in any case that he should have factored in the obstructed view when pulling out.

The male cyclist was left with multiple injuries including a broken arm, fractured in four places, and shattered knees which later required plates and pins.

Lord Heseltine immediately stopped at the scene, going to the injured man's aid and then calling the emergency services - facts which were noted by the sentencing district judge.

He was ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Lord Heseltine was also handed five penalty points.

The former MP for Henley ran against the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher in a Conservative leadership ballot in 1990.

Although his bid for the top job was ultimately unsuccessful the contest triggered Mrs Thatcher's eventual resignation.

Lord Heseltine went on to serve in John Major's cabinet where he was made deputy prime minister.

He stood down from his parliamentary seat at the 2001 general election and was made a life peer later that year, taking the title Baron Heseltine of Thenford.

Lord Heseltine recently made the headlines after telling society magazine Tatler how he once tackled his mother's Alsatian when it started biting him.

He pulled the dog's collar tight causing the animal, named Kim', to go "limp" - but later stressed he had not killed the pet.

Instead, he said it had been put down because of its violent outburst.

After the court hearing, Lord Heseltine said: "I wish to apologise unreservedly to the pedal cyclist.

"My overriding concern has always been his well-being."

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