'What Are You Calling Me, Sir?': James Cleverly Squares Up To Labour MP Amid 'S***hole' Row

Angry exchanges in parliament as home secretary denies he talked down Alex Cunningham's Stockton constituency.

The row over whether home secretary James Cleverly called a northern English town “a shithole” has led to an astonishing parliamentary stand-off.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham had accused Cleverly of making the derogatory remark about his constituency during prime minister’s questions last Wednesday.

Cunningham and other Labour MPs said they heard Cleverly, who was sitting on the government frontbench, mutter “it’s a shithole”.

An audio recording also appeared to pick up a male voice saying that word, but despite sources close to the minister initially insisting he said nothing, they later said he had actually called Cunningham “a shit MP”.

In the Commons on Monday, Cleverly denied making the remark about Stockton – and insisted he was actually insulting Cunningham.

It came as the pair exchanged verbal blows – with one moment standing out.

Cleverly said he “would never make such comments about his constituency”, and added: “I will make it absolutely clear, for the avoidance of doubt, with no ambiguity, I did not, would not...”

But the opposition MP shouted from a sedentary position “you did”, to which Cleverly said: “Then what are you calling me, sir?”

The cabinet minister appears to be suggesting Cunningham is calling him a liar, which would be deemed unparliamentary and risks ejection from the chamber.

Here’s the exchange as recorded on Hansard:


A video of the face-off is below:


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