Two weeks ago I faced another one of those moments MPs and public figures should worry about.
I was unable to park in the free space behind the Wokingham Conservative office, so I went to the Town Centre Borough Car Park. As I was about to get out to pay my parking fee, a friendly constituent I did not know offered me one hour of unexpired time on his parking ticket. He meant it kindly.
I had just a few seconds to respond. Should I accept gratefully and save my money? (No, I was not going to reclaim it!). Should I offer the white lie that I needed longer than one hour to avoid the dilemma? Or should I explain that as an MP I had to pay the local Council their dues?
It was clearly not a set up, as my parking there on a Monday morning was a freak event. There were no Borough officials watching my every move. There is no car registration system on the ticket. It is clearly against the rules of the car park to transfer tickets. The constituent was being very friendly and thought it the most natural thing to share it with someone and thwart the ever grabbing Council. Only the constituent and I would know, and he was not going to tell anyone.Maybe he knew I had opposed the increases in car park charges when they had last gone up.
I decided I had to follow the third route, refuse kindly and explain I had to obey the rules.
I would be interested in your honest responses to the following:
Would you have accepted the offer of the free parking?
If you became an MP do you agree you could no longer accept such an offer?
What would you think of your local MP if he were caught fiddling the local car park charges?