Everyone was confused when Andrea Leadsom called Jane Austen ‘one of our greatest living authors’
The anniversary of the death of the Georgian author reached 200 years on July 18.
Andrea Leadsom’s admiration for Jane Austen drew laughs from fellow MPs on Thursday, when the cabinet minister described the Georgian writer as “one of our greatest living authors”.
Austen, who died 200 years ago on July 18, is to appear on a new, polymer form of the £10 note from September.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney unveiled the design of the new banknote earlier this week at Winchester Cathedral, where Austen was buried after her death in 1817 at the age of 41.
Leader of the House of Commons Leadsom, who was responding to comments from shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz praising leading women figures, said: “I would just add one other great lady to that lovely list, who I am delighted to join in celebrating, and that’s that of Jane Austen, who will feature on the new £10 note, which I think is one of our greatest living authors.”
Andrea Leadsom callef Jane Austen "one of our greatest living authors".— Ian Collins (@iancollinsuk) July 20, 2017
I feel sorry for whoever has to break the bad news to her.
Andrea Leadsom pays tribute in Commons to our greatest living author, Jane Austen (1775-1817)— Lee Wren (@ActuallyLeeWren) July 20, 2017
The announcement was met with laughs from the surrounding benches, but reaction outside of Parliament was similarly bemused.
Jane Austen is alive and well and living in Andrea Leadsom 's spare bedroom.— Gary E. Brown (@oceanmedia) July 20, 2017
200 years later, Andrea Leadsom hasn't received news that Jane Austen passed away. Someone update her please— Keith 🇬🇧 (@keithsilvernail) July 20, 2017
Even Waterstones got sassy.
We are currently moving all our Jane Austen stock from Classics into Greatest Living Authors. Thanks Andrea Leadsom for the heads up.— Waterstones (@Waterstones) July 20, 2017
The senior MP quickly corrected herself when she realised her mistake, and said: “Greatest ever authors, and I think it’s fantastic that at last we are starting to recognise, well I think many of us probably wish she were still living, but I absolutely share the sentiment.”
It's so good to see Tories in touch with the realities of today - Andrea Leadsom called Jane Austen "one of our greatest living authors".— Tim. (@timjsimmons) July 20, 2017
Right, enough twittering for me. I've got a busy afternoon ahead - having tea with Andrea Leadsom and Jane Austen!! Buzzing!— Martin Delaney (@1MartinDelaney) July 20, 2017
It might not have been the most accurate reply the politician has ever made, but it certainly is one of the most unexpected.