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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Gilbert's W-word

Former Labour defence minister Lord Gilbert is not a man to mince his words.

No friend of MoD flunkies (nor Brussels), he last night raised a few peers' eyebrows with his use of the vernacular. This is what Hansard records him as saying as he criticsed the Airbus A440M military plane:

24 Oct 2012 : Column GC68

I have been told by a former Conservative Defence Secretary that the Americans were going to close down the C130 production line. That is rubbish, and simply not true. If you read the most recent edition of Defense News, you will see that they are going to go on with more and more sophisticated C130s. The C17 has also proved itself capable of undertaking tactical missions.

The A440M is a complete, absolute wanking disaster [my italics], and we should be ashamed of ourselves. I have never seen such a waste of public funds in the defence field since I have been involved in it these past 40 years.

But it's not the first time that he's used the W-word. In November 2010 he told the Lords:

Why on earth are we doing this? I once described this rather vulgarly as a Euro-wanking make-work project and I do not resile from that. I hope that this time Hansard will leave that in and not take it out.

And even earlier in 2004, he told peers:

Then I turned a few pages back to that marvellous Euro-wanking make-work project called the A400M. It lists the key requirements, but does not say what they are. I know that the Minister is not responsible for what the NAO produces, but I suggest that we tell it that we would like to know precisely what the key requirements of the A400M are so that everyone can see how inferior a plane it will be, if it ever arrives, to the C17, which will be for everyone's enlightenment.

 

 

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