Is Labour wooing 'Wichita woman'? Frontbencher can't pronounce Worcester in BBC gaffe

Malvern Gazette: Labour big-hitter Chuka Umunna Labour big-hitter Chuka Umunna

ONE of the Labour Party's most senior figures has been embroiled in an embarrassing cock-up - after pronouncing Worcester as "Wichita".

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, dubbed as one of Ed Miliband's rising stars, went onto a live BBC local radio interview and appeared to get Worcester mixed up with Wichita, a city in Kansas in the USA.

His error has been leapt upon by Conservative Worcester MP Robin Walker, who said his rival had made an "extraordinary" gaffe.

Mr Umunna was being interviewed on BBC Hereford and Worcester to discuss Labour plans to devolve billions of pounds in economic funding to the regions on Tuesday morning.

Breakfast show host Howard Bentham told him few people know about the funding streams Labour was focussed on.

Mr Umunna said: "I doubt most people on the streets in Hereford and Wichita know what a local enterprise partnership is about but your local branch of the chambers of commerce or federation of small businesses, they will know what that’s about."

Mr Umunna's first official visit as shadow business secretary in 2011 was to Worcester Bosch with Mr Miliband.

Mr Walker said: "It's extraordinary for a party that claims to be interested in the city to be getting this kind of thing wrong.

"There is a serious side to this.

"It shows that they continue to be a metropolitan party focussed on the big cities, rather than places like Worcester.

A Labour spokesman yesterday said it was a "mistake" and that it came amid multiple radio interviews.

"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."

Comments (7)

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10:36am Fri 4 Jul 14

Paul Griffiths says...

Robin Walker MP famously misspelled "Worcester" on his General Election leaflet in 2010. Pots and Kettles.
Robin Walker MP famously misspelled "Worcester" on his General Election leaflet in 2010. Pots and Kettles. Paul Griffiths
  • Score: 5

10:37am Fri 4 Jul 14

Rita Jelfs says...

Conservatives in Election mode. "Dog whistling" commences.
Conservatives in Election mode. "Dog whistling" commences. Rita Jelfs
  • Score: -1

10:48am Fri 4 Jul 14

Mochrum says...

Maybe Worcester should twin with Wichita?

I would happily be Worcester's representative, having lived in Salina, Kansas, not too far from Wichita, in my distant youth!
Maybe Worcester should twin with Wichita? I would happily be Worcester's representative, having lived in Salina, Kansas, not too far from Wichita, in my distant youth! Mochrum
  • Score: 4

11:07am Fri 4 Jul 14

redman14 says...

Witchita believe it?
Witchita believe it? redman14
  • Score: 3

11:13am Fri 4 Jul 14

Trofim says...

Hello Chuka, darling. What sort of day did you have at the office?

Don't ask. I had to go to some place out in the sticks to show that we care about the so-called "regions". Began with a W. I think there was an O in it. Awful place, completely lacking in vibrancy, full of plebs, practically all white. I'm not going back there in a hurry.
Hello Chuka, darling. What sort of day did you have at the office? Don't ask. I had to go to some place out in the sticks to show that we care about the so-called "regions". Began with a W. I think there was an O in it. Awful place, completely lacking in vibrancy, full of plebs, practically all white. I'm not going back there in a hurry. Trofim
  • Score: 10

1:55pm Fri 4 Jul 14

MJI says...

This bloke is a knob and he wants to be PM.

A dangerous person I think.

BTW they chose the wrong brother as leader David Milliband could actually debate!
This bloke is a knob and he wants to be PM. A dangerous person I think. BTW they chose the wrong brother as leader David Milliband could actually debate! MJI
  • Score: 3

6:56pm Sat 5 Jul 14

worcester man67 says...

One who has no clue how to pronounce the name of the city he visited and two local labour muppets who cannot read! Fortunately I was out at work whilst the local labour muppets were out knocking on doors drumming up support in Barbourne.

I do have a notice on my letter box requesting no junk mail but still had the leaflet shoved into it. I would throw it into the green bin but it contained so much B******t it would render the bin contaminated.

The demise of the park and ride is no great loss and I welcome the reduction in the cost of parking and hopefully the council tax will not increase like it did under Labour. The circumstances with the Mayor may not be ideal, but in a way no different than the deal between a man who took the UK into a questionable war and a unelected Prime Minister.
One who has no clue how to pronounce the name of the city he visited and two local labour muppets who cannot read! Fortunately I was out at work whilst the local labour muppets were out knocking on doors drumming up support in Barbourne. I do have a notice on my letter box requesting no junk mail but still had the leaflet shoved into it. I would throw it into the green bin but it contained so much B******t it would render the bin contaminated. The demise of the park and ride is no great loss and I welcome the reduction in the cost of parking and hopefully the council tax will not increase like it did under Labour. The circumstances with the Mayor may not be ideal, but in a way no different than the deal between a man who took the UK into a questionable war and a unelected Prime Minister. worcester man67
  • Score: 1
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