Frank Field does a reverse Alan Clarke: ‘I've always bought my houses…’

Written by David Singleton on 14 November 2017 in Diary

The Labour MP mocked his colleague Hillary Benn for having inherited wealth.

"The trouble with Michael is that he had to buy all his furniture," the outspoken former Conservative minister and diarist Alan Clark is widely said to have remarked of Michael Heseltine.

In fact, the flamboyant Tory politician was recounting, with some glee, a jibe made by the former chief whip Michael Jopling. Savouring the quip in his diaries, Clark describes it as “snobby, but cutting”.

These days, even the most reckless MPs would refrain from mocking a rival parliamentarian for not being fortunate enough to inherit anything from their parents.

But they might be happy to do it the other way round, as Labour MP Frank Field made clear with an attack on Hillary Benn. For being fortunate enough to inherit something from his parents.

During the Commons debate on the EU withdrawal bill debate, the anti-Brexit Benn told the pro-Brexit Field that "his analogy about buying a house falls down at the first hurdle".

To which the veteran MP for Birkenhead retorted: "As my right honourable friend was kind to me about the house analogy, I've always bought my houses, never inherited them."

He then promptly withdrew the remark following gasps and general astonishment from colleagues – and Benn’s insistence that he had actually bought his house anyway.






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