A COUNCILLOR said today he is “devastated” and apologised for his actions after being convicted of drink-driving.

I'M SORRY: Coun John Scott.
I'M SORRY: Coun John Scott.
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A COUNCILLOR said today he is “devastated” and apologised for his actions after being convicted of drink-driving.

Labour councillor John Scott, 66, who has represented the Shiney Row ward on Sunderland City Council since 2004, was banned from driving for 12 months, reduced to nine after he completed a rehabilitation course.

Coun Scott will now be called in front of the Labour Group Whip to explain his actions.

The married dad-of-three, of Office Row, New Herrington, said that on the day of the incident, April 19, he was busy campaigning for re-election to his ward, which the next month he won with one of the highest voting percentages in Tyne and Wear.

That evening, he was due to go and see a Buddy Holly tribute act at the Sunderland Empire with his wife, when she felt unwell.

He said he went along to the show with a friend instead and had a pint of beer in the theatre bar before the performance, as well as a glass of wine at the interval.

Coun Scott said he returned to his car in The Bridges car park to make his way home in his Peugeuot 307 car when police officers on St Michael’s Way noticed he was driving without his lights on.

It was then that officers gave him a breath test which showed up 53 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 milliletres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Coun Scott was also fined £290 at the hearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Coun Scott, who also has six grandchildren, said: “I wasn’t driving erratically and I complied with the police fully at the time.

“But I put my hands up.

“I’m devastated and I want to apologise to everybody for my wrongdoing.

“I’m so disappointed because I’ve never been in trouble in my life.”

The former miner, who is also vice chair of the Coalfields area committee, said: “I have let everybody down but I have to say it wasn’t intentional.

“Now I’m doing a drink-driving responsibility course and I have complied in every way I can.”

Coun Scott will now appear before the Labour Group Whip.

A spokesman for Labour North said: “The Labour Party and Sunderland Labour Group were not aware of Councillor Scott’s conviction.

“The Labour Party takes the issue of drink-driving very seriously.

The Party demands the highest level of conduct from our councillors and its clear from the judgement that Councillor Scott’s conduct has fallen short of that level.

“The court has now dealt with this offence however Councillor Scott will now be called in front of the Labour Group Whip to explain his actions.

“The Labour Group will then consider what further action would be appropriate.”