Ex-MP wins appeal in swearing case

A former Labour MP who swore at a barmaid for refusing to serve her any more alcohol has had her conviction for using threatening words and behaviour quashed.

In June last year Helen Clark, 54, swore at a barmaid and a customer in a hotel in Peterborough where she, her husband, Alan, and a friend had been drinking from around midday to about 5pm while discussing politics. Ms Clark, who represented Peterborough between 1997 and 2005, was given a conditional discharge by magistrates in March. Yesterday Judge Anthony Bate, at Cambridge Crown Court, said that although Ms Clark had used "unparliamentary language" and her behaviour had been "shameful", her conduct had not been criminal. He overturned the former English teacher's conviction. He said Ms Clark's behaviour could have been upsetting but would not have caused "real emotional disturbance or upset".