A peer who was accused of falling asleep during a debate and blocked from speaking has demanded an apology. Watch here:
Late on Monday (14 March), a debate about regulations on genetically modified organisms was taking place in the House of Lords – but Labour peer Lord Young was denied the opportunity to contribute.
Lady Bloomfield blocked him on the grounds that she'd caught him kipping and even said she had to send a note to stir him.
She said: "I am sorry, but the noble lord was fast asleep for the entire duration of the minister's speech.
"He really should not participate in this debate having failed to take advantage of the ability to hear him."
But speaking today (Thursday 17 March), Lord Young has rubbished her claims and demanded an apology, stating that he was 'discourteously dismissed'.
The 79-year-old said he was in fact listening to the debate through the speakers, which are embedded in the bench – not kipping.
He said: "When I endeavoured to make a contribution to this debate, I was discourteously dismissed by Baroness Bloomfield on the grounds that she suggested that I'd been asleep during the minister's contribution.
"And when I said to her that wasn't true – in fact, what I was doing was listening as we do with my ear against the speaker. Unfortunately, unlike today, my hearing aid batteries are now in and I'm not reliant on that."
Whatever the truth, it's a cracking excuse for young MPs to take a note of.
He went on to demand an apology from Baroness Bloomfield, claiming she'd damaged his reputation.
He said: "I received what purported to be a letter of apology from Baroness Bloomfield and it started with the lines, 'Whatever the rights or wrongs'.
"It seemed to me that wasn't really an apology. That was more, shall we say, an equivocation at its best. And I don't accept that was an apology."
He added: "We should set the record straight in this House as I'm endeavouring to do now, and she should be here too, to hear that – and in my view – to have apologised to the House. That would have been the proper thing to do.
"She's chosen to be absent, you can draw what conclusion you would like."
When the BBC reached out to Lady Bloomfield, she said she had no further comment to make.