Family phones cut from ‘immovable’ seagulls
Tory MP Duncan Baker has been roundly mocked on social media after pressing Oliver Dowden during PMQs – over a family of seagulls nesting in a mobile phone mast.
And one Twitter even suggested the North Norfolk MP’s interjection was reminiscent of comedy legend and Norwich resident Alan Partridge.
Mr Baker raised eyebrows when he stood up just before 12.30pm, minutes after Deputy PM Mr Dowden, standing in for Rishi Sunak, traded blows with deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner on topics including education, child poverty and homelessness.
He said: “If it wasn’t so serious it would be comical. However, in Horning on the Norfolk Broads, I have a whole area totally cut off from having a mobile signal, wait for it, until August because of nesting seagulls taking up residency in the new telecoms mast.
“Gulls are protected and the nest can’t be moved – but let’s say a family holiday on the Norfolk Broads gets into distress this summer.
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“They will not be able to make an emergency call which could be life threatening.”
Mr Baker continued: “Will the Deputy Prime Minister please help me call on Natural England to be sensible and make sure that for public safety reasons we can get a mobile phone mast working in a prime holiday location.”
Mr Dowden replied: “While we we all love the diversity of wildlife in this country and particularly on the North Norfolk coast that he represents, I think he makes a very strong point about the balance between that and ensuring people have access to modern communication facilities, and I should certainly take it up with Natural England.”
Twitter users wasted little time having their say, with one, calling herself @LynneyP, commenting: “@AlanPartridge would be overjoyed… a mention for North Norfolk in #pmqs.”
Another, @hewitson10, referring to the MPs sitting around Mr Baker, added: “This is quite funny.
“Tory boys having a meltdown because seagulls are nesting where he wants an antenna.
“Watch Paul bristow (yellow tie) trying really hard not to p*** himself laughing.
“Even Jonathan Gullis is laughing when he stands up.”
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@WinstonN69 shared a picture of seagulls on the bonnet of a car overlooking the sea, commenting: “Save our seagulls from Tory government #pmqs.”
Meanwhile In an indication of their surprise at Mr Baker’s choice of topic, @BillyNoMates said: “Nesting seagulls was not on my bingo card.”
Fictional television presenter Partridge, played by Steve Coogan, made his debut on Radio 4’s On The Hour, before starring in television shows including Knowing Me, Knowing You and I’m Alan Partridge. He was also famed for hosting a show on the fictional radio station North Norfolk Digital.
The latter show saw him living in a roadside hotel after being dropped by the BBC.
To continue the avian theme, in one episode he takes Jill, a receptionist at Peartree, his production company, on a date to what he calls a “cracking owl sanctuary”, remarking at one point that reminds him of a “death row” for birds of prey.
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