David Cameron Says He's Not 'Posh' On 'Peston On Sunday', And Says It's An Old Empire Shipping Term

'Other people would probably say I'm posh.'

22/05/2016 11:22 | Updated 22 May 2016

David Cameron denied he is 'posh' by claiming the term comes from exclusive travel on ships during the Empire - arguably the most 'posh' explanation he could muster.

The Prime Minister - the Eton-educated son of a wealthy banker who grew up in leafy Oxfordshire - was appearing on ITV Political Editor Robert Peston's show when he was a confronted with the most Googled questions about him.

Peston on Sunday
Allegra Stratton

Co-presenter Allegra Stratton stripped out the ruder questions and revealed most were about his seemingly privileged background. 

Stratton added: "It's pretty annoying for him about his wealth and his privilege that after 10 years at the top he is still having to convince them he is one of them."

Asked by Peston whether he thought he was 'posh', Cameron said:

"I can't hide my background or upbringing, and I never have done so. Other people would probably say that.

"It's a funny expression, it can mean lots of different things.

"It originally meant which side of a ship you were on when you were travelling to India." 

The premier was referring to the claim that it is an old nautical term: 'Port Out, Starboard Home', or 'POSH'.

One explanation for the word's origins is that in its Empire-era pomp the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company - which became P&O ferries - issued tickets for expensive cabins on the Britain-India route with the letters POSH.

The Tory leader went on to thank his parents for an "amazing start in life", adding: "What I want is to do as much of that for other people."

Political commentators quickly seized on the remark.

But has Cameron mis-spoken? Did it really mean Port Out, Starboard Home?

Another claim is that 'posh' stems from: "Posh, meaning ‘smart, stylish, splendid, luxurious’ is first recorded in 1914, with the chiefly British strand of meaning, ‘typical of the upper classes; snooty’, following soon after."

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