Friday 30 September 2016

New minister faces toughest opponent yet - a pesky persistent fly

Richard Wheeler

Published 14/09/2016 | 20:59

Paul Maynard MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) swats away a fly during a debate on Nottingham's tram service in the House of Commons, London Credit: PA Wire
Paul Maynard MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) swats away a fly during a debate on Nottingham's tram service in the House of Commons, London Credit: PA Wire

A new Government minister was left flailing at the despatch box - after being troubled by a persistent fly.

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Conservative Paul Maynard encountered arguably his toughest opponent yet in the Commons since taking on his transport role in July while replying to a debate on Nottingham's tram service.

He waved his arms to rid the fly from his personal space in the opening moments of his speech, telling the Commons: "More people are travelling by tram and light rail since any time since records began in 1983, with a 5.8% increase just in the last year alone.

"And the improvements being made to these services are not just creating transport systems that people can rely on, they're also creating jobs, growth, opportunity and a fly that seems to take an overly interest in my head whilst I speak, as part of building a mixed economy that works for everybody."

A buzz could be heard in the chamber after the fly took up residence on the minister's microphone, where it spent a couple of minutes before launching back into flight.

It also landed on Mr Maynard's speech, in what was becoming a test of his ability to stay calm under minor pressure.

Tory Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green) opted to wave his papers at the insect when it ventured near him.

But moments later MPs were freed from the fly's apparent desire to contribute to proceedings when the House rose for the day.

Press Association

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