Barry Gardiner’s holy day howler

Barry Gardiner's holy day howler
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As a young man, Barry Gardiner planned to become an Episcopal priest, serving as secretary of the Scottish Christian Movement. Fortunately for the country however, Gardiner decided that first academia and then politics were his true calling, rising eventually to the giddy heights in government of being Gordon Brown's special representative on forestry and then Jeremy Corbyn's shadow trade secretary in opposition. 

Having stunned Westminster with a one day wonder bid to be Labour leader, he returned to the backbenches last April where he has largely remained a dutifully loyal presence in spite of some social distancing rule breaking. But as a onetime wannabe vicar on the holiest day of the Christian calendar, Mr S was surprised to see Gardiner register a note of foul mouthed dissent on Easter Sunday after he retweeted an account telling his leader Keir Starmer to 'f**k off'. Though swiftly deleted, the apparently inadvertent retweet was recorded for posterity by the @deletedbyMPs Twitter account.

Labour MPs have been known to claim use such colourful language before, with Jess Phillips reportedly deploying such language towards Diane Abbott back in 2015. But given how Gardiner is such a true original in British politics, Mr S is sure he would never deliberately intend to use such a hackneyed phrase of abuse.

Surely for a man as useful with his lips as Gardiner, he would simply have told his leader to go whistle instead?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to