BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 17:41 GMT
Hansard wipes Commons swearword
Bob Ainsworth
Mr Ainsworth is said to have made the comment during a debate
The official record of Parliamentary proceedings is to be changed to remove a swear word attributed to Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth.

As Tory MP John Baron debated troops' kit shortages Mr Ainsworth was reported to have muttered "absolute bollocks".

Mr Baron complained to Commons Speaker Michael Martin on Monday about the use of "unparliamentary language".

But Mr Ainsworth says another MP used the phrase and was "quite incensed" at being blamed, an MoD spokesman said.

The Speaker ruled it was not possible to tell what was said from recordings, so the Hansard record would be changed.

The record was of a Parliamentary debate on the armed forces last Thursday, during which Mr Baron, the Conservative MP for Billericay, talked about housing standards for armed forces personnel.

It is not possible to establish what was said from a sedentary position during the honourable member's speech when Hansard records an unparliamentary phrase being used
Commons Speaker Michael Martin

He added: "Troops returning from theatre tell of life-threatening shortages of kit, including body armour, satellite phones, oil to prevent guns jamming and electronic equipment to detect roadside bombs."

At that point, Mr Ainsworth was recorded as making his interjection, which prompted Tory MP Tony Baldry to ask: "Is that a Parliamentary phrase?"

At the time Mr Baron remarked: "I shall move on."

But on Monday he made an official complaint to the Speaker.

'In the circumstances'

Raising a point of order, he said Mr Ainsworth had used "unparliamentary language which risks showing contempt for a sensitive issue" and asked what action Mr Martin would take.

The Speaker replied: "The audio and visual records of Thursday's debate have been checked today. It is not possible to establish what was said from a sedentary position during the honourable member's speech when Hansard records an unparliamentary phrase being used."

He's quite incensed by it
Ministry of Defence spokesman

The Speaker said that "in the circumstances" the remarks and Mr Baldry's response would be removed from the permanent record.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman told the BBC Mr Ainsworth had said the comments had been wrongly attributed to him, and had been uttered by another MP.

"He's quite incensed by it as it's not the kind of thing he would say," he said.

Hansard is printed each morning and contains a record of the previous day's business in Parliament.

Hansard reporters sit in the press gallery of the Commons and record the proceedings which are then transcribed and despatched electronically to the printers.

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific