I may now have ruined my slim chances of getting into the cabinet, and whether using a rude word is quite up there with swinging the historic mace, I doubt. But it has been interesting to be at the centre of the latest furore about unparliamentary language.
Hansard actually records that I called care minister [Ivan Lewis] an a******* in a debate on hospice funding in Westminster Hall last week. It has been suggested that I called him an aardvark, an abattoir or perhaps even an american.
But unlike defence minister Bob Ainsworth, who was reported (literally) as talking “bollocks” in the chamber, before he claimed it 'wasn’t him guv' and it was deleted - I will accept what was said and that it was me. I cannot, to use an unparliamentary term, tell a lie.