The great row about what the Leader of the Opposition did -or did not- whisper under his breath at Prime Minister’s Questions was unedifying, but also left me quite nervous.
I do not want to get into the politically correct territory of whether women are as capable of being as stupid as men. That argument can run and run.
What unnerved me was the enthusiasm with which colleagues preyed-in-aid the skills of lip-readers to work out exactly what he said.
I sometimes whisper things under my breath: They are my private thoughts, perhaps to be shared with a close neighbour only, that’s why I whisper them rather than stating them out loud for the record.
The notion that we should be watched by lip-readers to see what we are whispering, so that we can be hauled before the authorities (in this case Mr Speaker), is deeply worrying.
This is dangerous territory: we are on a slippery slope to the ‘thought crime’ of which George Orwell so eloquently warned in his novel 1984. We should make it compulsory New Year reading for all MPs
Rt Hon Sir Desmond Swayne TD MP
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