Umunna mocked over Worcester gaffe

Andover Advertiser: Chuka Umunna mispronounced Worcester during a radio interview Chuka Umunna mispronounced Worcester during a radio interview

Chuka Umunna has become the latest high-profile politician to be left red-faced by a local radio gaffe after mispronouncing the name of a well-known English city.

The shadow business secretary took to the airwaves in Worcester to plug Labour's regional growth policies.

But he so badly mangled its name during an interview that it ended up sounding like "Wichita", the US city made famous by a Glen Campbell hit.

The howler was seized on by BBC Hereford and Worcester which used the song in a segment the next day mocking his error.

Local Tory MP Robin Walker said it proved Mr Umunna, the MP for Streatham in London, was part of a "metropolitan" set which was out of touch with voters beyond the capital.

But a spokesman for the shadow business secretary said "of course" he knew how to pronounce the name of the city and that it had been a simple "mistake".

And he hit out at Conservatives for focusing on the slip rather than debating policies.

"This was a mistake in one of many breakfast radio interviews Chuka has done this week promoting Labour's ambitious plans to decentralise power and spur better-balanced growth," he said.

"The fact is that of course Chuka knows how to pronounce the name - he simply made a mistake in a live interview.

"Rather than engaging with Labour's plans to boost local growth and help small businesses, local Tories are instead focusing on a mistake in a radio interview."

A key marginal seat, "Worcester Woman" was one of the groups of voters targeted by Tony Blair as he secured a landslide win for Labour in 1997.

Mr Walker told MailOnline: " There is a serious side to this. It shows that they continue to be a metropolitan party focused on the big cities, rather than places like Worcester. Chuka should know better - he has been to Worcester.

"His leader has been something like eight times in three years. Every time he comes their share of the vote has fallen. So I hope they keep coming, and eventually they will learn the name of the place."

Labour leader Ed Miliband faced embarrassment when he was unable to name the Labour leader in Swindon during a radio interview in the Wiltshire town and Prime Minister David Cameron denied Chelmsford had been unfairly targeted for cuts - when he was on air in neighbouring Colchester.

The spokesman for Mr Umunna also sought to suggest the Prime Minister was guilty of a Worcester-related gaffe when he wrongly, on a US chat show, identified the writer of Land Of Hope And Glory as Edward Elgar - who was born near the city.

US tennis great John McEnroe might be able to offer tips to Mr Umunna after his own method for getting place names right on air was exposed.

After McEnroe gave a faultless pronunciation of Worcester during a phone-in on BBC Radio 5 Live, co-host Tim Henman revealed the American had written it down as "Wuster" to remind him.

Comments (10)

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5:23pm Thu 3 Jul 14

stevo!! says...

If we mispronounced his name, wouldn't we be accused of racism?
If we mispronounced his name, wouldn't we be accused of racism? stevo!!
  • Score: 9

5:32pm Thu 3 Jul 14

shed says...

they have trouble with words don't they.

MP's that is.
they have trouble with words don't they. MP's that is. shed
  • Score: 4

6:10pm Thu 3 Jul 14

welshmen says...

Chuka Umunna out....
Chuka Umunna out.... welshmen
  • Score: 4

7:18pm Thu 3 Jul 14

thorntonlad says...

What a hooha about nothing. I work with people in Yorkshire who find it hard to pronounce the same place name. So what!
What a hooha about nothing. I work with people in Yorkshire who find it hard to pronounce the same place name. So what! thorntonlad
  • Score: 1

7:52pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Lucky Lucretia says...

The reason he can't pronounce it is because he doesn't care enough about the place to know how to pronounce it. They probably don't mention places like Worcester very often at his dinner parties!

The guy's 'out of touch.' Just like that nonsense about UKIP voters being unable to use the internet. He insults the intelligence of people right, left and centre.

It's the same with the entire Labour front bench. No wonder so many Old Labour voters have decided the party doesn't represent them anymore.
The reason he can't pronounce it is because he doesn't care enough about the place to know how to pronounce it. They probably don't mention places like Worcester very often at his dinner parties! The guy's 'out of touch.' Just like that nonsense about UKIP voters being unable to use the internet. He insults the intelligence of people right, left and centre. It's the same with the entire Labour front bench. No wonder so many Old Labour voters have decided the party doesn't represent them anymore. Lucky Lucretia
  • Score: 5

8:08pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Paul Griffiths says...

Robin Walker famously misspelled "Worcester" on his General Election leaflet in 2010. Pots and Kettles.
Robin Walker famously misspelled "Worcester" on his General Election leaflet in 2010. Pots and Kettles. Paul Griffiths
  • Score: 3

10:04pm Thu 3 Jul 14

cosmick says...

welshmen wrote:
Chuka Umunna out....
Good news we have just elected our PPC FOR UKIP for WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND.
[quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: Chuka Umunna out....[/p][/quote]Good news we have just elected our PPC FOR UKIP for WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND. cosmick
  • Score: 1

10:04pm Thu 3 Jul 14

cosmick says...

welshmen wrote:
Chuka Umunna out....
Good news we have just elected our PPC FOR UKIP for WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND.
[quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: Chuka Umunna out....[/p][/quote]Good news we have just elected our PPC FOR UKIP for WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND. cosmick
  • Score: 1

10:29am Fri 4 Jul 14

Rita Jelfs says...

stevo!! wrote:
If we mispronounced his name, wouldn't we be accused of racism?
No. I don't follow your UKIP logic. People would know that you're not familiar with pronouncing unusual combinations of sounds! But they would give you the benefit of the doubt, wouldn't they. So if someone from a non-English speaking childhood background, mispronounces a locally understood pronunciation of Worcester, the rational person gives them the benefit of the doubt, don't they.
[quote][p][bold]stevo!![/bold] wrote: If we mispronounced his name, wouldn't we be accused of racism?[/p][/quote]No. I don't follow your UKIP logic. People would know that you're not familiar with pronouncing unusual combinations of sounds! But they would give you the benefit of the doubt, wouldn't they. So if someone from a non-English speaking childhood background, mispronounces a locally understood pronunciation of Worcester, the rational person gives them the benefit of the doubt, don't they. Rita Jelfs
  • Score: -1

3:38pm Fri 4 Jul 14

varteg1 says...

The telephone statement said, Mr X just to remind you of your appointment on Friday at the ABER SITCHAN surgery.

The correct pronouncement is Abersuckan the spelling is Abersychan,

Maybe Chuck baby didn't make such and error, but what did he actually call it...Woosester, I have heard plenty of Septics say it that way, and other mispronouncements, Glossester, Liesester, Deerby, the list is endless.
The telephone statement said, Mr X just to remind you of your appointment on Friday at the ABER SITCHAN surgery. The correct pronouncement is Abersuckan the spelling is Abersychan, Maybe Chuck baby didn't make such and error, but what did he actually call it...Woosester, I have heard plenty of Septics say it that way, and other mispronouncements, Glossester, Liesester, Deerby, the list is endless. varteg1
  • Score: 0
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