ANDREW PIERCE: When did it become Hansard’s job to put words in the mouths of MPs or spare Labour’s blushes?
Known for decades as ‘history’s ear’, Hansard has been the official report of Parliamentary proceedings since 1909.
This cornerstone of our democracy is crucial for holding MPs to account, but lately Hansard reporters have been omitting gaffes and blunders made by Labour MPs, particularly in relation to Israel and Gaza.
For example, David Lammy — Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary — referred in the Commons to ‘the bombing of the al-Ahli mosque in Gaza’.
His words were met by a chorus of groans from his parliamentary colleagues, for the missile he was referring to did not hit a mosque, but a hospital run by the Anglican Church.
Not content with one egregious error, Lammy blundered again, only for a number of MPs to loudly correct him, crying: ‘Hospital!’
David Lammy — Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary — incorrectly referred in the Commons to ‘the bombing of the al-Ahli mosque in Gaza’
Florence Eshalomi, Labour’s Cabinet Office spokeswoman, called in the Commons ‘for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire’, which is not Labour’s party line
But you would never know this from Hansard’s transcript of his speech, which refers both times to the hospital rather than — as Lammy did — a mosque. The official report also ignores the interjections from horrified MPs.
Then there is Florence Eshalomi, Labour’s Cabinet Office spokeswoman, who called in the Commons ‘for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire’, which is not Labour’s party line — though an increasing number of Labour frontbenchers think it should be.
Curiously, the official transcript was edited to say ‘immediate humanitarian corridor’, which is in line with Starmer’s policy.
Eshalomi has subsequently broken ranks and is calling for a ceasefire.
When did it become Hansard’s job to put words in the mouths of MPs or spare Labour’s blushes?
Talking of Lammy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary seems to have the backing of Paul Drechsler, former president of the Confederation of British Industry.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary seems to have the backing of Paul Drechsler, former president of the Confederation of British Industry
Drechsler, supposedly a political non-combatant, described Lammy as ‘inspirational’ in a tweet. Why the foray into party politics? My spies in Whitehall say he may be rewarded with a peerage.
Supermodel Twiggy, 74, says on the latest episode of her Tea With Twiggy podcast: ‘When my daughter Carly was a little girl, she had a crush on the Tory PM John Major, but she was only about seven. She thought he was a nice man. But then she also loved Carry On’s Sid James.’
With Joe Biden stumbling and Donald Trump knee-deep in court cases, what about letting Arnold Schwarzenegger into the White House?
Arnie is barred from running for President because he wasn’t born in the U.S (Pictured: Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California giving a press briefing outside the White House)
The Terminator star got the thumbs-up from veteran diplomat Lord Darroch last week. On Radio 4’s Any Questions, Darroch pronounced: ‘If your measure is the likely competitors in 2024, I might go for Arnie. He was actually quite a successful governor of California.’
Former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett had to remind Darroch, once UK ambassador in Washington, that Arnie is barred because he wasn’t born in the U.S.
Required reading for every member of the Shadow Cabinet is the new edition of Attlee: A Life In Politics, a biography of the famously modest Labour PM who won a landslide victory in 1945. Written by Shadow Cabinet Office minister Nick Thomas-Symonds, the book contains a limerick written by Clement Attlee himself:
Famously modest Labour MP Clement Attlee won a landslide victory in 1945
There were few who thought him a starter,
Many who thought themselves smarter.
But he ended PM, CH and OM,
An Earl and a Knight of the Garter.
Comedian Dom Joly wryly observed of legally embattled Donald Trump facing up to 641 years in prison: ‘It’s unlikely to be reduced for good behaviour.’
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle needs a new trainbearer. The incumbent, Jim Davey, has moved on after 12 years — having somehow put up with John Bercow for many of them.
One part of the role, as the title suggests, is daintily holding the end of the Speaker’s robes as he processes through the House (Pictured: Sir Lindsay Hoyle walks through the Commons Members Lobby in Parliament)
One part of the role, as the title suggests, is daintily holding the end of the Speaker’s robes as he processes through the House. Being able to carry off a frilly ruff and knickerbocker trousers is also a key requirement. As for Jim, he has been promoted to senior clerk in the Table Office, which handles questions and motions from MPs. Alas, his shapely calves will be hidden from public view.
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