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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

The contagious C-word

This C-word tourettes thingy is clearly catching.

Just hours after Jim Naughtie and Andrew Marr did the deed, Policing Minister Nick Herbert just stunned MPs with the same word.

Quizzed repeatedly by Labour about Government cuts, reductions in civilian staff and recruitment freezes for police officers, the minister blurted out:

"I don't accept that those are c*nts...cuts...to front line policing".

As the House fell about, it was left to Speaker Bercow to come up with a wonderful line as Herbert turned beetroot:

"Order! Opposition Members hearing is playing tricks with them. They didn't hear what they thought they heard."

Herbert then recovered rather swiftly, stating:

"Mr Speaker, I'm in very good company."

Watch the exchanges HERE from 14.58pm. SkyNews also now have the vid:

 


Shadow Home Secretary Ed Balls, as combative as ever, pointed out that it was no wonder Mr Herbert was feeling the pressure, given that Theresa May had forced him to answer most of her questions.

Balls did well to avoid his own trip-ups, particularly as he said the word "cuts" and "constables" several times in close proximity.

Some members couldn't resist the chance to rub salt into Mr Herbert's wounds, raising it in points of order.

I can't wait to see how Hansard report all this tomorrow. Now that's what I call a tough call, given the Speaker's own words....

 

UPDATE: Bob Piper points out that John Spellar did something similar way back in 2001 when he told MPs: “we recognise that these cunts in the defence medical services had gone too far”.

My own favourite, however, is Trevor McDonald's absolute classic mix-up on News at Ten about "the C*nt Kentryside"

 

FURTHER UPDATE: Labour's Kevin Brennan, as mischievous as ever, asked if Speaker Bercow could confirm that it would be in order for MPs to walk through both the Aye and the Noe lobby if they want to register an abstention. He said that Lib Dems who wanted to claim they had voted both for and against tuition fees could therefore satisfy different audiences.

The Speaker yelled "Yesss!" in reply.

 

845 PM UPDATE: Hansard is now out and they have, ahem, tidied up the exchange as follows:

Nick Herbert: I do not accept that those are cuts—

Hon. Members: What was that?


Mr Speaker: Order. Opposition Members’ hearing is playing tricks with them. They did not hear what they thought they heard.

 

You've gotta love that collective chunter "What was that?". Priceless.

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