Andrea Leadsom mocked after calling Jane Austen 'one of our greatest living authors' in House of Commons

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Andrea Leadsom has been ridiculed after referring to Jane Austen as “one of our greatest living authors” during a speech in Parliament.

The Conservative MP was welcoming the new £10 notes, which feature a picture of the author, when she made the gaffe.

Austen, whose works include Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice, died in 1817 aged 41.

Leadsom quickly corrected herself after the Commons broke out into laughter, adding: “Greatest ever authors. Well I think a lot of us wish she were still living.”

jane-austen-10.jpg

A sample of the new Jane Austen bank note (EPA)

But the politician, elected Commons Leader in June, did not escape ridicule completely. Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, tweeted a clip of the blunder with the caption, “I hate to be the one to break it to her”.

Book retailer Waterstones also chipped in.

The firm posted on Twitter: “We are currently moving all our Jane Austen stock from Classics into Greatest Living Authors. Thanks Andrea Leadsom for the heads up.”

It later added: “Anyone know who Jane Austen’s agent is? We’d love to book her for an event.”


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