As the SKWAWKBOX covered earlier today, the Daily Mail and other Establishment media tried a completely unmerited attack on the excellent Labour MP Laura Pidcock today over her absence from this week’s debate, confirmed at the last minute, over Universal Credit and the government’s failure to respond properly to its defeat in last week’s Commons vote.
Ms Pidcock was in Venice with the full permission of Labour whips; it was a trip arranged by her partner for her birthday, before she was even an MP – and Ms Pidcock didn’t miss a vote, just a second debate. She was there for the vote last week, as well as contributing to that debate – while the actual Work and Pensions Secretary failed to vote last week, failed to appear after the vote and failed to appear in this week’s debate for good measure.
A pretty desperate Establishment smear, then.
But it turns out to be even worse than a lame, failed smear – the Mail’s article contained a a factually false quotation.
The article quoted Tory MP Andrew Percy aiming an opportunistic swipe at Ms P – except the swipe then changed, without notice or announcement, into a different swipe.
The original version accused Ms P of hypocrisy on the grounds that she herself had personally criticised Tory MPs for not turning up to last week’s vote:
Wouldn’t be hypocrisy in any case, as the Tory MPs failed to turn up for a vote, not merely a debate. But it turned out that Ms Pidcock had made no such accusations at all.
Without any admission of error, the wording on the Mail article suddenly changed:
A curious and potentially serious matter. Normally a misquotation or factual error would be noted.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Andrew Percy’s office to find out the facts of the matter. Had he changed his quote? Had the Mail? Some other permutation? Mr Percy has not yet responded, but if an answer is received it will be added.
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