As the SKWAWKBOX showed yesterday, the attack of the Establishment media on Labour MP Laura Pidcock hit a new low with articles in various rags accusing her of hypocrisy for taking a birthday trip to Venice that was planned before she was even an MP. Ms Pidcock had Labour’s permission for the absence, the debate she missed was called after she had left – and the debate was not linked to any vote.
Desperate attempts to smear by an intellectually bankrupt Establishment.
The Mail Online article contained a quote from Tory MP Andrew Percy – and then it contained an amended version of the quote. In the first version, Percy accused Ms Pidcock of “hypocrisy that gives politics a bad name” because, in his words, she was
Laura Pidcock should be apologising to her constituents and to Parliament for doing what she herself accused others of just a few days before.
The only slight problem was, she had made no such accusation. So the Mail changed the wording of the quote – without any acknowledgement of the error or apology to Ms Pidcock:
Laura Pidcock should be apologising to her constituents and to Parliament for doing what her fellow Labour MPs accused others of just a few days before.
Quite something to be demanding an apology and accusing someone of hypocrisy – then to fail to apologise when you screw up.
But were the error and the change the responsibility of the Mail, or of the MP? We asked Mr Percy’s office about it. A response was promised by 5pm yesterday, but had still not materialised by the same time today. So we sent a follow-up email reiterating the questions and advising Mr Percy how the article would need to be written if he chose not to respond, so he could make an informed decision:
Still waiting for the response I was promised yesterday by 5pm regarding the Mail’s changes to Andrew’s quote. Now Sky News has published a quote very similar to the original one in the Mail.
Please respond by return with answers to the following:
- which version of the words is correct – the one accusing Laura Pidcock of personally criticising Tory MPs for not voting or the later one saying Labour MPs made the criticism?
- did you change the quote or did the Mail? If the latter, did they have your advance permission for them to do so?
- what do you think of the Mail changing its quotation of your words without publishing a correction notice or apology to Ms Pidcock?
- you criticised Laura Pidcock’s absence on the basis that she or Labour MPs had criticised Tory MPs for being absence for last week’s UC vote. There was no vote this week, so she merely missed – with her whips’ permission – some talking in the Commons and didn’t miss a vote. Isn’t that in fact hypocritical and disingenuous of you?
Fast answer, please. If you don’t respond, the questions will be published anyway with a note that you failed to respond.
Mr Percy declined emphatically to make any response on the record – either to address the changed wording of his quote or the question of hypocrisy, or to make any apology to Ms Pidcock for any inaccuracy in his original statement.
For any Tory MP to make either version of the accusation about an MP absent for a non-vote debate when all Tory MPs but one abstained from voting on the main Universal Credit debate last week and the Work and Pensions Secretary refused to appear to answer for the resulting government defeat and failed to turn up for the second debate this week is, frankly, a bit rich.
We’re none the wiser about whether the Mail or Andrew Percy changed the quote. But setting Mr Percy aside, this shoddy excuse for a government is most definitely ‘giv[ing] politics a bad name’ – not to mention disgracing Parliament and the country – with its craven approach to democracy and process.
Which makes it hardly surprising that the Tories and their media allies want our attention on a Labour MP who has nothing to answer for.
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