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Bercow corrects Michael Gove's "Cymryphobia" as "welshed" joins the list of unparliamentary language

By Tim Montgomerie
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Not for the first time the Speaker, John Bercow, didn't miss an opportunity, yesterday, to rebuke the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

Answering a question from Labour MP Tristram Hunt, Mr Gove said:

"The hon. Gentleman invited me to the potteries and I welshed on the deal. I would love to come to Stoke, because I am a huge fan of that city and its contribution to our industrial heritage, and of the way in which he has championed its role as a model both of how we can improve education and of urban regeneration."

Mr Bercow jumped to his feet to protect the feelings of the Welsh: "I think that the Secretary of State meant “reneged”," said the Speaker, "rather than “welshed”."

According to 'The Free Dictionary' "welshed" means "to swindle a person by not paying a debt or wager." or "to fail to fulfill an obligation". Apparently some of the great people of Wales are offended by this term - often written "welched" (as I did on Twitter, on Sunday).

Later in Education Questions Mr Gove thanks John Bercow for the correction:

"May I also thank you, Mr Speaker, for correcting my vocab earlier? I would hate to be thought guilty of Cymryphobia, especially as someone married to a Welsh girl."

"We are very grateful to the Secretary of State for that," replied Mr Speaker, "for his knowledge and, indeed, for his pronunciation."

Glad we sorted that out.


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