Forgot that Bangernomics interviewed Esther when she was on the telly twenty years ago. This is not a political post at all…just stumbled across, so we had better search for other close encounters of the major party kind…

“I actually have some very good memories of my worst car and I acquired it when I was at University in London. I heard about this vehicle by word of mouth and it sounded as though it was in a bit of a state with a flat battery and a slashed tyre. The incentive was that I could have it for nothing. I went to with two mates and found a very sorry looking Vauxhall Viva. It was white, about a hundred years old, and surprisingly didn’t need much work to get it going. We decided to share the car between us and for a while it took us absolutely everywhere, it was utterly dependable.

“Then we got a little ambitious and decided to go away for a week to France. Getting on the ferry wasn’t a problem. After a meal and rest, it certainly was, that Viva refused to budge. Unfortunately we were one of the first in the queue, so there was this shabby little Viva holding up hundreds of cars. My boyfriend at the time stayed in to steer and was outside giving it a good old shove. It was one of those moments when I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. It must have been funny to watch, but it was the most embarassing time of my life.  That night the Viva didn’t move far at all so we ended up in the back under a duvet. Over the next week it got worse. When it was running that was fine, but actually persuading it to start was a nightmare. Every day I would have to put my trainers on and give it a push start. After a while though that didn’t work and we found that the only way to get it going was to stick it in reverse and push it backwards. At one point we thought that we would have to abandon the Viva somewhere in France and walk home.

“Luckily we managed to get back across the channel. I think the problem was that the Viva had led an easy life with a couple of undemanding elderly owners and couldn’t cope with a bunch of students. It lasted a year and probably expired of exhaustion. Although the Viva was hardly a classic, it won’t be the last old car I own. For me they have so much more character than a modern car, even it does mean that you break down more often.”

Esther McVey co-presented GMTV Mondays to Fridays from 7.00 am back in the midsts of time.