By Oliver Hall
A car hire company has apologised to former transport secretary Ruth Kelly for incorrectly billing her when her rental vehicle suffered two flat tyres.
The Bolton MP was charged £1,180 by Eurpcar “for damage” to her seven-seater Volkswagen Touran hired on a holiday to France last month.
Both tyres went flat on the people carrier within an hour after they collected the vehicle after taking the train to Avignon in southern France.
Ms Kelly told the London Evening Standard: “It was a bit scary. I don’t know what the cause of it was.”
Europcar’s assistance line arranged for a taxi to take them to their destination and for a replacement car.
The firm said there would be no extra charge, but she received an invoice for £1,180 on her return home.
Ms Kelly, who resigned from the Cabinet last September, said she had also been charged for petrol despite returning the car with a full tank of fuel.
After an exchange of emails and phone calls, Europcar has refunded the damage and fuel charges, which they say “were made in error” and waived the rental fee.
A spokesperson for the company said: “With regard to the charges made for the tyres and the fuel, we have liaised with our colleagues in France and can confirm that the charges were made in error.
“We have therefore refunded Ms Kelly 1341.97 euros and 47.70 euros for fuel.”