Steerpike

Fact check: does Dawn Butler have a blue plaque?

Fact check: does Dawn Butler have a blue plaque?
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It has been a busy month for Dawn Butler. Whether it's joining Cameo, backfiring Twitter polls or even being an apparent contender for the Labour leadership, she has rarely kept away from the headlines. 

In such circumstances, it's no surprise then that Butler's services have at last been recognised, with the MP herself excitedly tweeting how she was 'honoured to have been dedicated' with a 'Blue Plaque' unveiling near Stratford. 

Mr S was surprised to see so many rapturous supporters tweeting their approval of this public symbol of recognition – normally the left is keener to pull them down than putting them up.

On closer inspection however, all is not what it seems. The 'Blue Plaque' Butler unveiled was not of the official kind run by English Heritage – as the charity were only too happy to make clear. The criteria for such an award includes the stipulation that the 'famous person' must have either 'passed the centenary of their birth' or been 'dead for twenty years' – neither of which fortunately apply to the very living Butler.

Moreover, such an award is only granted to those 'considered eminent by a majority of members of their own profession' – something Butler's fellow MPs might well question– and 'have made an outstanding contribution to human welfare or happiness' – though admittedly she could make a decent case on comedic grounds. 

Still, even if it's not an English Heritage award, it's nice of the Waltham Forest community to recognise the Brent Central MP. And who knows – maybe Butler will one day be considered enough of a national figure to warrant an 'official' plaque too. 

If Batley goes blue on Thursday and a Socialist Campaign Group challenge does emerge, Butler is reportedly one of the names in the mix to displace Starmer. Could the woman who once claimed 90 per cent of giraffes are gay be the unlikely hero Labour needs?

Perhaps one day they will be erecting blue plaques in the red wall to such an unlikely leader. A new Dawn has broken, has it not?

Written bySteerpike

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

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