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Lord Tebbit Told To 'Get On His Bike' By Labour Peer Looking To 'Make The Troops Laugh'

'It was a delicious moment.'

22/02/2017 11:46 | Updated 22 February 2017

A Labour peer has told of the “delicious moment” he heckled Lord Tebbit by telling the former Tory cabinet minister to “get on his bike”.

Lord Hunt said the achievement had been “high up on his list” and small joys such as the incident on Wednesday were “especially useful in these depressing times”. 

He landed the jibe during a parliamentary debate on Tuesday when Lord Tebbit complained about transport congestion in London.

Lord Tebbit is famous for telling unemployed people in the 1980s to “get on your bike” to find work.

Georges DeKeerle via Getty Images
Norman Tebbit, ex-Conservative Party Chairman, with Margaret Thatcher as the pair campaign during the General Election of 1987

Lord Tebbit asked peers yesterday whether they were aware “it can take more than an hour to drive from Parliament Square to the Tower of London”. 

“That has been caused by the barricades that have been put up to assist cyclists, who also get in the way on the main carriageways,” he complained.

In response, a quick-witted Lord Hunt shouted “He should get on his bike!” 

Labour Lords
Keen cyclist Lord Hunt, who is Labour's deputy leader in the Lords and a former health minister

Lord Tebbit shot back that the peer “speaks very impertinently to me and other people of my age, who would have grave difficulty cycling on the roads these days”.

But speaking to The Huffington Post UK today, Lord Hunt said: “[Other peers] did enjoy it. It took them a few second, but it’s a nice thing to make the troops laughs.

“I thought [Lord Tebbit’s] reaction was quite churlish, actually.

“As a minister in the Labour government, he was always asking me difficult questions and he’s very good with a rapier but perhaps not so good at taking it.

At the age of 68, it’s a wonderful thing to be talked of as being impertinent. It warms the cockles of my heart Lord Hunt

He continued: “I’ve been in Parliament for 20 years and you do have to wait for these great moments. It was a delicious moment. They happen spontaneously - you can’t legislate for them.

“They’re especially useful in these depressing times - you’ve got to look for your comfort, and having a go at Lord Tebbit has go to be high up on the list.”

Lord Hunt also described the new cycle lane on the Victoria embankment in London as a “wonderful thing to ride” and added: “The House of Lords is very anti-cyclist anyway, so I felt this was a good opportunity to get my own back.”

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