The Scottish accent is arguably one of the most beloved in the world, but trying to decipher the rolling r’s and thick vowels isn’t always an easy task. One New Zealand-born MP in the House of Commons learned this the hard way this week when he was asked a question in Parliament by one of his Scottish colleagues, with hilarious results.
In a video that is going viral online, Kiwi-born Sir Paul Beresford was left confused after Scottish National Party’s David Linden – a representative for Glasgow East – asked a question about the lack of disabled access points at the Palace of Westminster.
“I know from speaking to a number of parliamentary colleagues that there are still certain aspects of the estate, including the northern estate, that are not great for people with disabilities,” Linden said. “Can I ask the honourable gentleman what work is being done to make sure this place is more accessible, particularly for some of our colleagues who have a disability?”
Hilarity ensured when a nervous Beresford was forced to ask his colleague to repeat himself after failing to understand the Scottish accent correctly.
“I’m sorry, it must be something to do with my antipodean background,” he said. “Could he please repeat the question because I didn’t follow it?”
Several MPs could be heard laughing and saying “wow” as Linden got up again to repeat himself. In true Scottish fashion, his response was full of humour.
“Wow, very popular today,” he joked, before asking his question again. To Beresford’s horror, he failed to understand Linden for a second time and was forced to ask him again to repeat himself once more.
“I’m really sorry, please could you do it very slowly and in antipodean English?” he asked.
Again, MPs burst into laughter, while Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle suggested that the pair discuss the matter in writing so they could both understand. Things only got funnier when Welsh MP for Ogmore Chris Elmore got up to speak, telling parliament he would “try it on the first go”.
“Because I’m Welsh, so God help him,” he joked.
Linden later took to Twitter to explain that his thick accent and mishap during question time had made him the butt of all jokes amongst his mates.
“I sense that my friends back home aren’t going to let this one go any time soon,” he tweeted, alongside a message he was sent from a friend that read: “Sorry mate I didn’t catch that, can you say it again.”
And, while he acknowledged the moment was funny, he asked people to remember that the question he was asking was rather serious.
“The Palace of Westminster is woefully inadequate – indeed often unsafe – for colleagues & visitors with disabilities,” he said. “I very much hope today’s media interest means the issue is given greater focus going forward.”
2/2 -The Palace of Westminster is woefully inadequate – indeed often unsafe – for colleagues & visitors with disabilities. I very much hope today's media interest means the issue is given greater focus going forward.
— David Linden MP (@DavidLinden) October 18, 2018