The Royalist

10.15.13

London Parking Warden Tickets Hillary Clinton's Car

Hillary Clinton fell foul of a fearless London parking warden at the weekend. What a shame the Americans in London refuse to pay their parking fines.

Even in a relationship as special as ours, there are limits.

And Hillary Clinton well and truly overstepped that mark at the weekend when her people-carrier parked illegally in London – and was promptly slapped with a ticket by a London parking warden, despite a posse of security men leaping out of the car and trying desperately to keep the man away from her vehicle.

But British parking attendants are made of sterner stuff than that. It takes more than a few heavily armed secret service dudes to put them off. And, most importantly, in this country, just because you are a former first lady and secretary of state, that doesn’t mean you cannot pay your £3:30 hourly parking rate and expect to get away with it.

The secret service guys remonstrated. The warden continued calmly writing his ticket. Then he stuck it to the windshield in time-honored fashion.

It came with an £80 fine. The good news is it will reduce to £40 if paid within 14 days.

Alas, there is fat chance of that happening. The fine will never be paid. Diplomats in London have racked up £70million in unpaid congestion charges (it costs £10 a day to use your car in central London) and a further £7.5m in unpaid parking fines. The Americans – along with other foreign embassies - claim diplomatic immunity and refuse to pay them.

The issue has become unsurprisingly contentious in London, and in 2011 London Mayor Boris Johnson asked US President Barack Obama to pay the outstanding charges when he attended a Buckingham Palace banquet.

“Could you please write me out a cheque for £5million?” Johnson asked him.

Louis Susman, Obama’s ambassador to London intervened, replying, “I think this is a matter where our position is already well known.”

Johnson was at least more diplomatic than former London mayor Ken Livingstone who called the American ambassador, "a chiseling little crook," over the issue.

The Americans refuse to pay, saying the charge is a ‘tax’ from which they are diplomatically immune.

Cllr Daniel Astaire, of Westminster City Council, told MailOnline: “Despite our traffic marshal being questioned by the secret service for just doing his job, he was in the right.  The former US Secretary of State was parked for nearly 45 minutes without paying. I’m sure she will understand that we have to be fair to everyone, regardless of their status on the world stage.”

Quite blooming right too.