Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna doesn't know his Worcester from his Wichita
MP makes slip during live radio interview about helping local businesses
Thursday 03 July 2014
One is a Kansas town where Wyatt Earp served as a law officer during the days of cowboys and cattle drives, while the other is a beautiful English cathedral city on the River Severn. They could hardly be more different.
So Chuka Umunna, shadow Business Secretary and rising Labour party star, will doubtless be wondering just quite how he managed to say something that sounded like “Wichita” instead of Worcester during a live radio interview about helping local businesses.
“I doubt most people on the streets in Hereford and Wichita know what a local enterprise partnership is about but your local branch of the chambers of commerce or federation of small businesses, they will know what that's about,” he told BBC Hereford and Worcester.
A spokesman for the Mr Umunna insisted he had “simply made a mistake”, saying “of course Chuka knows how to pronounce the name”.
“This was a mistake in one of many breakfast radio interviews Chuka has done this week promoting Labour's ambitious plans to decentralise power and spur better-balanced growth,” he added.
But the spokesman's attempt to seize the high ground was never likely to succeed.
BBC Hereford and Worcester used the song Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell to mock the blunder and the local Conservative MP, Robin Walker, did not hold back.
“There is a serious side to this. It shows that they [Labour] continue to be a metropolitan party focused on the big cities, rather than places like Worcester. Chuka should know better - he has been to Worcester,” Mr Walker told the Daily Mail.
“His leader has been something like eight times in three years. Every time he comes their share of the vote has fallen. So I hope they keep coming, and eventually they will learn the name of the place.”
Mr Umunna's mistake contrasted with a faultless pronunciation by tennis star John McEnroe during a phone-in on BBC Radio 5 Live - although co-host Tim Henman revealed the American had written it down as “Wuster” to remind himself how to say it.
- 1 Malaysia issues arrest warrant for Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law after she publishes stories on leader Najib Razak's financial affairs
- 2 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 3 Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-diver missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Jackie Chan in second place in Forbes' Highest Paid Actors list after magazine includes actors working outside US movie industry
Malaysia issues arrest warrant for Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law after she publishes stories on leader Najib Razak's financial affairs
Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-diver missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Pizza Express protests: these restaurants charge staff for tips paid by card
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair could face war crimes trial over 'illegal Iraq invasion'
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This organization has been a trusted partner t...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity has ar...
£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity working ...
£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The prime focus of the role is to assist...