Tory MP Anna Soubry denies calling Labour leader Ed Miliband 'sanctimonious c***' in axed BBC footage

Broadcaster admits editing out the scene from 'Inside the Commons', but insists it did not do so because of complaints

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 25 February 2015 17:54 GMT
Anna Soubry (top right) pictured in the Inside the Commons final cut
Anna Soubry (top right) pictured in the Inside the Commons final cut (BBC)

The Tory defence minister Anna Soubry has staunchly denied claims she called the Labour leader Ed Miliband a “sanctimonious c***”, saying she would “never use that word”.

Footage that was ultimately dropped from a BBC documentary about life inside Parliament appeared to show a heckler in the House of Commons shouting the phrase as the camera cut to the previously outspoken Tory MP.

Despite the publicity team for the series Inside the Commons being among the first to claim the clip showed Ms Soubry swearing when it was previewed for journalists, audio published by Buzzfeed still leaves it unclear exactly what was said.

The scene didn’t make it into the final version of the programme broadcast last night, and a BBC source told The Independent that this was “one of many last-minute editorial decisions” – not because of a complaint from Ms Soubry.

Labour has now called on the Tory MP to apologise for what it said was “clear” was “unacceptable language”, despite the fact that she told the Daily Mail in a full denial: “I can absolutely assure you I have never used language like that.”

Studies have shown the bizarre effect of prior information on how the brain processes sound – so perhaps people are simply hearing what they want to hear?

What could have been said in original clip? Here are a few suggestions to bear in mind when you listen to the audio (click the speaker to listen).








After the Mail suggested that the scene may have been dropped after the MP complained, the BBC said in a statement: “The BBC and the programme makers had complete control over all editorial decisions. Changes are often made to programmes for editorial reasons in the lead up to broadcast, as was the case with this episode, but we did not receive any external pressure.”

Speaking to the Nottingham Post, Ms Soubry said: “Look, I'm not going to say anything more than this. This is a word I do not use.

“People do not use foul language in the House of Commons chamber, they just don't do it and I don't either.

“I assure you that I have never used that word in the chamber, that's the end of it.

“We might be loud but we don't use foul language."

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