Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is facing a police probe after he collided with a parked car and drove off without contacting the owner.
Mr Balls damaged a Peugeot 306 as he left the Labour rooms in Morley in his car, but failed to get in touch with the vehicle’s owner or leave his insurance details.
An inquiry has now been launched by West Yorkshire Police into an allegation that he committed a criminal offence by failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
Mr Balls has admitted he caused the damage while negotiating his way out of a “tight spot” and that he left without notifying anyone – but said he was oblivious to what had happened until he was contacted by police.
He said: “Ten 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.”
The incident happened on Saturday, April 5, outside the Labour office on Commercial Street in Morley, but it wasn’t until the following day that the owner of the damaged car noticed. The Yorkshire Post understands CCTV cameras recorded Mr Balls’s car leaving the scene, allowing police to trace his registration details and send him a letter.
Sergeant Adrian Wright, of the eastern area roads policing unit, said: “We received a report on Sunday, April 6, of a fail-to-stop collision on Commercial Street, Morley, which is reported to have happened the day before on Saturday, April 5. Damage was caused to the front offside wing of a parked black Peugeot 306. Enquiries are ongoing.”
In 2010 Mr Balls admitted he had been “stupid” after he was fined £60 and given three points after being caught talking on his mobile phone while driving. 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.
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.”