A video has emerged of a clip edited out of a BBC documentary series last night which appears to cast doubt on claims published in today's Daily Mail that Tory Defence Minister Anna Soubry called Ed Miliband a "sanctimonious c***".
Soubry categorically denied the "outrageous" claim, and insisted to her local newspaper, the Nottingham Post, that she had used a milder term.
She said: "If you go on Twitter, you will hear the unedited version of what I really said and it's clear I said "sanctimonious rubbish".
"I have always been clear I never use that word and would never use bad language in the House of Commons."
A clip of the controversial incident has been published by Buzzfeed, leading many on Twitter to suggest that she had actually shouted "sanctimonious rubbish" during a Commons debate.
The video also shows the MPs sitting around Soubry being seemingly unfussed by her heckles, in another sign that suggests she shouted something much milder than the Mail initially claimed.
Pretty clear that Soubry says "sanctimonious rubbish", not the C-bomb http://t.co/86j3cu0hzC— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) February 25, 2015
@nedsimons after years of working in audio it is clearly "sanctimonious rubbish" and quite a leap to get to a C bomb.No wonder she denied it— Giles Dilnot (@reporterboy) February 25, 2015
I'm confused, it just definitely sounds like "sanctimonious rubbish" to me. I can't hear the other version. Am I weird?— Jess Brammar (@jessbrammar) February 25, 2015
Soubry is clearing saying, "sanctimonious rubbish" not the c word http://t.co/23sVDRuWIv— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) February 25, 2015
Others suggested she could have shouted other, milder, words like "twaddle" and "poppycock".
@flashboy Sounds like “Sanctimonious poppycock” to me.— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) February 25, 2015
Earlier in the day Labour urged Soubry to apologise if she had used the obscenity, with a senior source saying: "It seems clear that it was inappropriate language to use. It shows the Conservatives do not understand the need to restore trust in politics."
A Downing Street spokesman said that the Prime Minister accepted Soubry had not said the alleged obscenity. The alleged heckle was recorded by documentary maker Michael Cockerell, who said in the voiceover of footage seen in a preview tape by journalists: "Our cameras have witnessed the sanitised version in which MPs sometimes use the most offensive language."
According to the Mail, a publicist working for the production company behind the film claimed to journalists that the defence minister, who can be seen and heard on the back row, had sworn.
However, the paper claims that after Soubry was alerted, the BBC had removed the sound of her heckle and changed Cockerell's reference of "most offensive language" to "behaviour even rougher than is usually seen".
A BBC spokesman said: "Changes can and are often made to the final version broadcast, as is the case with this episode."
When told about the alleged obscenity, the defence minister issued a furious extended denial about the "outrageous" claims.
Soubry's denial in full to the Mail
"I beg your pardon. I can be heard saying what? No. Absolutely not. Never. Never. And if you print that I will sue you because I would never.
The C-word? No absolutely not, I would never use that word and I would never use it in the House of Commons and I would certainly never use it… I'm not having that. I can absolutely assure you I have never used language like that and I can equally assure you on the back row nobody, we wouldn't think of shouting a word like that, the foulest word.
I'm now going to ring both the press office here and at HQ, and I'm going to ring my solicitor. I would never say that and that's an extremely, extremely serious allegation. Never ever. That word is never used in the House. Outrageous.
Forgive me because I need to make a number of phone calls, because I'm not having that. I would never use language like that and most certainly not in the House of Commons, nor against any opponent. I don't use that word so you better not print it.
There is no way, I am telling you now, with the volume of my voice that I would, even if I was minded to, which I am not. I abhor the word. There is no way. You guys should know this. You couldn't shout out language like that.
No, I'm sorry. End of debate. I would never use that word.
I know that I do not use that word and if you print that I will bloody sue you because I would never use that word. I'm going to go to the Speaker. If there's one person, well more than one, that the Speaker would be listening to, it's the likes of me.
You heard me use the word c*** in the House of Commons? No sir. Never. Because I do not use it in my ordinary life and I would never use it in the House of Commons and I am profoundly offended at the suggestion I ever would. I just don't use that word and anyone will tell you that because I'm an old feminist who hates that word. If there's word I loathe. it's that word.
And the idea I would call anybody in the House of Commons, I don't use the word anyway, it's just inconceivable, I don't do that. I am sorry I absolutely don't. You can hear how strongly I feel.
You're telling me you've heard me use the C-word. You really are certain?
I do not use the C-Word. Come on. You know how that place operates, you don't sit and shout out foul language. Nobody does. I think it is very important that you run this past your lawyers because you will not defame me, sir. You will absolutely not. I would never dream shouting out the C-word of all words.
The one thing you never do is shout out foul language. You don't behave like that. We're noisy and I don't say we're not, but we don't use foul language.
I put my hands up when I do something wrong, but I'm not having this. I would never do that. I'm not having it. This is a very serious allegation.
I can assure you I do not use the C-word and I certainly do not swear in the House of Commons. None of us do. I know some people don't like our antics, but we do not. You wouldn't. It's inconceivable.
You better not defame me, I will have you, and I mean that. Do forgive me, goodbye."
The Huffington Post UK has asked Soubry if she gone through with her threat to sue the Mail since it published their report, but has yet to receive a reply.
Cockerell played down any suggestion that the programme had been edited, saying: "I don't recognise what you're talking about. Anything you're talking about is not in the programme.
"The BBC has editorial control and they make the decisions on the way the programme is cut."
Before entering Parliament as MP for Broxtowe, Soubry worked as a journalist and then a barrister. In 2013, she apologised for saying that Ukip leader Nigel Farage "looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom".
The Tory clearly surprised fellow guests on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show when she made the remarks following an impression of Farage by comedian Rory Bremner.
Farage later said he was "astonished" by the "foul-mouthed attack" and insisted the minister had "stooped to the levels of crudity that any politician would spend a lifetime apologising for".
During a light-hearted discussion at the end of the show, a chuckling Soubry made a gesture with her finger and said: "I always think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it."
Bremner said: "Are you allowed to say that?"
Lord Mandelson, who was also on the sofa, grabbed her arm, and said: "Anna, Anna, please, it's too early."