MP admits falling asleep during emergency debate on Afghanistan

 

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A shadow minister tonight admitted that he did doze off during an emergency debate on Afghanistan but insists he has no recollection of doing it and now plans to visit the doctor to get checked out.

Labour's Stephen Pound initially denied falling asleep yesterday when footage emerged that showed him lowering his head a number of times while his eyes were seemingly shut.

But the shadow Northern Ireland minister has since watched the debate back and now concedes he did nod off.

"I have absolutely no recollection of it at all," he said. "I have had a look at it and I entirely accept that I did fall asleep. I have no recollection of it and I'm seeing my doctor.

"I hold my hands up entirely. It was like looking at a stranger."

Mr Pound was captured by Commons cameras appearing to have a nap while sitting behind colleague Denis MacShane, the MP who had forced Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to the House to answer MPs' questions about the latest spate of green on blue attacks.

His head bowed particularly when Mr MacShane began quoting war poet Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum est.

Initially Mr Pound suggested the angle of the shots made it appear that he had taken a nap when he was actually checking his phone.

The Labour MP said received a number of "aggressive" emails overnight accusing him of being disrespectful to British troops but insisted that was not the case.

Mr Pound said this morning: "I just don't understand what this is all about. I had actually been on my feet at 3.30pm, I was talking in local government questions, and I was on the radio at 3.50pm.

"The pictures are awful. I was actually looking down at my phone.

"I didn't fall asleep in the Chamber, particularly not in such a sensitive discussion as that. I was obviously looking at my phone.

"I feel dreadful. I have had letters calling me a complete murderous bastard, emails to my general account. It's fairly aggressive stuff.

"Never in a million years would I be disrespectful, particularly on an occasion like that."

PA

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