“I was not asleep during Afghanistan debate” says Ealing North MP

14:57 18 September 2012

Labour MP Stephen Pound (right) has said he was not sleeping while Denis MacShane spoke in the House of Commons during an emergency debate on Afghanistan yesterday. Picture: PA Wire

Labour MP Stephen Pound (right) has said he was not sleeping while Denis MacShane spoke in the House of Commons during an emergency debate on Afghanistan yesterday. Picture: PA Wire

An MP who looked like he was dozing off during an emergency debate on Afghanistan has admitted the pictures look “awful” but insists he did not fall asleep.

Footage of Stephen Pound showed him lowering his head while his eyes were seemingly shut a number of times during the urgent question yesterday following another spate of “green on blue” killings.

The Labour MP, who represents Ealing North, was sitting behind colleague Denis MacShane, the MP who had forced Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to the House to answer MPs’ questions, when he appeared to nod off.

Mr Pound’s head bowed particularly when Mr MacShane began quoting from the poem Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen.

The MP admitted the pictures did not look good but said the angle of the shots made it appear that he had taken a nap when he was actually checking his phone.

He said he had received a number of “aggressive” emails overnight accusing him of being disrespectful to British troops but insisted that was not the case.

Mr Pound said: “I just don’t understand what this is all about. I had actually been on my feet at 3.30pm, I was talking in local government questions, and I was on the radio at 3.50pm.

“The pictures are awful. I was actually looking down at my phone.

“I didn’t fall asleep in the Chamber, particularly not in such a sensitive discussion as that. I was obviously looking at my phone.

“Never in a million years would I be disrespectful, particularly on an occasion like that.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The eponymous craft beer is not always brewed in the capital (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If there’s two things London foodies are obsessed with, it’s craft beer and local products, so it’s a surprise to learn that a drink that is named after London and boasts of being “the quintessential English lager” is sometimes brewed in Europe.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
How should the next generation of Boris bikes look? (Photo by Steve Bardens/ Getty Images for Santander)

Santander Boris bikes as we know them could be a thing of the past after TfL issued a tender for their redesign.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
New Fathers 4 Justice campaigners altered this local council anti- domestic violence poster in Greenwich Station (Picture: New Fathers 4 Justice)

An anti-domestic violence poster has angered fathers campaign groups and today two activists were ‘removed’ by police from a south-east London train station for defacing the council missive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Paddy Power reckon it's a dead cert for Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn (Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership race is a “done deal” according to one bookmaker which has already started paying out on bets.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Computer class

New figures show, in the face of growing youth unemployment, vacancies for digital jobs is set to widen in the next year.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Lord Sewel resigns from the House of Lords (Picture: PA Images)

Lord Sewel has quit the House of Lords after video footage emerged of him allegedly taking cocaine with two prostitutes in his London flat, even snorting a line off one woman’s breasts.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more
Free weekly shop? Yes please!

Win £200 to spend at Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets. Asda prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here.

Read more