A Labour MP refused three times to withdraw the word “dodgy” as she claimed she did not think “another word suffices the level of corruption and what we have seen from the Government”.
During business questions in the Commons, the MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana, accused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg of being “dodgy”.
Ms Sultana said: “It has been reported that the Transport Secretary used public money to create a departmental team that lobbied against plans to build on airfield sites, including a giga-factory at Coventry Airport.
“Disgracefully, that would mean he used public funds to lobby against green investment and jobs coming to Coventry.
“And why? We know he is an aviation enthusiast. From a dodgy Transport Secretary to a dodgy Leader of the House who last week tried to rewrite the rules to let his mate off the hook. This Conservative Government is rotten to the core. Is the Leader of the House proud of this shameful record?”
Interjecting, Commons Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing told her to think of a different form of words, as she did not like the word “dodgy”.
She said: “She can make clear she disagrees with what has happened. Perhaps she could put it in different words.”
Confusing Madam Deputy Speaker for Madam Deputy Secretary, Ms Sultana replied: “Thank you, Madam Deputy Secretary. I don’t think another word suffices the level of corruption and what we have seen from this Government, so I think that term suffices.”
Dame Eleanor insisted that while “it is absolutely in order to have disagreement here”, we must “moderate our language and be careful of the adjectives that are used about a member by another”.
The MP for Coventry South claimed once again to be “confused” as she could not think of a different word.
Dame Eleanor said it would suffice to withdraw the word “dodgy” to ask her question, but this went ignored, and then the Deputy Commons Speaker seemed to lose her patience.
Raising her voice, she said: “Order! Order! She misunderstands me, I am asking her to withdraw the word ‘dodgy’. I have given her the opportunity to put her question in other words. If she doesn’t want to take that opportunity, she doesn’t have to.
“I am not stopping her from making the point she wants to make or asking the Leader of the House the question she wants to ask and indeed drawing to general attention the points that she wishes to draw general attention. I am asking her to moderate language in doing so. Would she like to put her question in moderate language?”
Ms Sultana finally withdrew her remarks, but decided not to re-ask her question to the Commons Leader with “moderate language”.