THE former Speaker of the House of Commons and a newly-widowed Mirfield politician’s wife have fallen victim to a notorious car-clamping company.
Baroness Betty Boothroyd – famous for talking no-nonsense when she was the first woman Speaker – took a trip to Bronte country in Haworth and was clamped by a company called Carstoppers.
She was with Mrs Jean Megahy, from Mirfield, widow of former Huddersfield Council Leader and Euro-MP Tom Megahy.
Mr Megahy died on October 5 and his funeral was only last week.
Carstoppers won the RAC Dick Turpin Award for the nation’s worst clamper in 2003.
Baroness Boothroyd, 78, took the trip with close friend Mrs Megahy on Saturday.
The women parked at the Changegate car park and left a ticket in Mrs Megahy’s vehicle, but returned to find the car clamped by a man employed by Carstoppers, which is contracted to operate there.
Although the ticket had time remaining on it, it had fallen face down on the dashboard and because the clamper was unable to see the information, Mrs Megahy had to pay a whopping £75 fine.
Signs state that all tickets must be displayed face up.
Carstoppers has been vilified in the past for over-zealousness and its strict policy.
When Mrs Megahy had pulled up at the car park it was raining. She paid to park for an hour and returned about 10 minutes early.
She said: “I must admit, in an effort to get somewhere dry I didn’t read the signs properly, but the ticket was due to run out at 4.52pm and he released the clamp at 4.45pm after much ado. He was very abrupt.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the clamp. We begged him to take it off.”
Mrs Megahy said she was making a written appeal against the fine to car park owner Ted Evans.
Clr Ian Greenwood, Labour leader of Bradford Council, said: “People should be treated always with courtesy and I think the council and its partners should do something to stop the unreasonable behaviour of the people running these car parks.
“Both the ladies were visitors to the district, the sort of people we wish to see in the district.”
Car park owner Mr Evans said: “The ticket expiry time was not on show. She had a ticket, I accept that.
“The situation is that the man who looks after the car park doesn’t know what time they are due to leave. It’s pay and display and they didn’t display.”