Government minister Johnny Mercer criticised for comparing Labour

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer has been accused of being “disrespectful” to new Labour MP Keir Mather, after comparing him to a character from The Inbetweeners.

Mr Mercer made the comments during Sky’s special overnight coverage of the by-elections.

Keir Mather, 25, won the previous Conservative stronghold of Selby and Ainsty for Labour by overturning a majority of 20,000.

At 25, he will become the so-called ‘Baby of the House’ – the youngest member of the House of Commons.

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Asked by deputy political editor Sam Coates whether he welcomed “an injection of youth into parliament”, Mr Mercer replied: “I think it’s always good to get new people in politics, but I think we mustn’t become a repeat of The Inbetweeners”.

The Inbetweeners is a TV comedy series that was also made into a number of films, which follows a group of awkward teenage friends as they enter adulthood.

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Asked what he meant by the comparison, Mr Mercer said: “You’ve got to have people who have actually done stuff. This guy has been at Oxford University more than he’s been in a job.

“You put a chip in him there and he just relays Labour lines, and the problem is people have kind of had enough of that.

“They want people who are authentic. People who have worked in that constituency, who know what life is like, understand what life is like to live, work and raise a family in communities like theirs.

“I’m afraid I don’t agree with this style of politics.

“It’s exactly why people like me couldn’t vote in the 2015 election, because you’ve got people with nothing to do with the constituency just dropped in – put a chip in them and they’ll start parroting Labour Party politics.”

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Later, the comments were put to Labour’s Baroness Chapman, who accused Mr Mercer of being “disrespectful” to the people of Selby and Ainsty, who yesterday elected Mr Mather as their representative.

Baroness Chapman said the comments were

Image: Baroness Chapman said the comments were ‘disrespectful’

“There is such a thing as being gracious in defeat, Johnny,” she said.

She added: “How rude are you today? You need to get some sleep.”

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