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Last Updated: Monday, 11 June 2007, 19:16 GMT 20:16 UK
Italian to quit in ambulance row
Italian senator Gustavo Selva - file photo
Sen Selva reportedly feigned illness to get to an interview
An opposition Italian senator has offered to resign after a scandal erupted over his use of an ambulance, Italian media are reporting.

Senator Gustavo Selva was widely criticised for using an ambulance to rush to a TV interview.

Sen Selva used the ambulance to speed through Rome's streets, blocked with traffic during a visit by US President George W Bush on Saturday.

In his resignation letter he praised the "speed and efficiency" of the crew.

'Old journalist's trick'

Sen Selva's ambulance use provoked a storm of criticism from Italian politicians and media.

Sen Selva reportedly feigned an illness, asking the ambulance to take him to his heart specialist, but giving the address of the TV studio.

Health Minister Livia Turco said an investigation would be held into the senator's "irresponsible" behaviour.

"I used an old journalist's trick to get here," Sen Selva reportedly said during his interview.

Ms Turco said: "This arrogant stunt could have had tragic consequences if another person had really needed that ambulance."

Rome's emergency services had about 50 ambulances standing by in case anti-Bush protests in the city turned violent.

They had about 600 emergency calls during the day, Reuters news agency said.

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