A beautiful example of what our elected representatives get up to in Parliament these days: the proper pronunciation of patent.
Paul Flynn: My hon. Friend will remember the outrageous suggestion that I tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the Committee by saying that the 1,000 people in Newport who have to say “patent” hundreds of times a day decided that as it took three nanoseconds more to pronounce it with a long “a”, they would pronounce it with a short “a” so that they could go home earlier for their tea. The outrageous and flimsy counter to that truth from the right hon. Member for North-East Hampshire (Mr. Arbuthnot) was to suggest that the Romans pronounced the word differently. How does he know that? Can he explain?
I come now to the key issue raised by the hon. Member for Newport, West (Paul Flynn) — the pronunciation of the word “patent”, a matter that exercised the Committee for some time. I said that he had led the Committee and the House up the garden path in suggesting that his constituents were supposed to get home earlier to tea, but I am afraid that he has got me wrong: I was agreeing with his pronunciation of the word “patent”, on the basis that the Romans would have pronounced patens — meaning, “open” — with a short “a”. I just think that he got his reasoning wrong.
While there will not be dancing in the streets of Newport, I believe that the whole city will be suffused with a pleasant glow at the news that the Bill has been given a Second Reading.
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