UKs last Communist Party MP admitted being propositioned by Russia for money

The United Kingdom's House of Commons is portrayed as a beacon of nobility, respect and power.

But sometimes, things can go very wrong, as MPs let their anger get the better of them.

And on March 19, 1940, the UK's last ever Communist Party MP – yes, that was an actual party in the UK – William Gallacher and Conservative MP Sir Archibald Southby had a slanging match in the chamber, and ended it with a mad confession that wouldn't go amiss in today's political narrative.

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The odd incident happened during a debate on the progress of the World War Two.

Former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had given a long-winded opening speech, lasting 57 minutes, where he talked about fighting for what “every right-minded citizen the world desires”.

The debate went on for several hours and was very much in the shape of today's debates about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In short, everyone approved of the war efforts, apart from the odd (usually far left) MP who said everything was the opposite of what it actually was.

And then it came to an intervention by the Communist MP, William Gallacher.

During his speech, which touched on peace being made in Finland, and defending himself against comments calling him a “paid hireling of Stalin and Moscow”, he started to talk about the former newspaper the Daily Herald, which was published daily in London from 1912 to 1964.

It was the prelude to The Sun, and was a firm supporter of the Labour Party.

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However, it appeared to have angered Mr Gallacher, and his rant ended up backfiring on him . . . massively.

He said, in a transcript directly from the historical online version of Hansard: “The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) some time ago wrote a book about the old Daily Herald – the old Daily Herald with life in it, before it became the shameless painted prostitute that it is now, the sleeping companion of Lord South wood.

“The right hon. Member for Bow and Bromley wrote a book in which he called the old "Daily Herald" the miracle of Fleet Street.

“He showed how the workers of the country paid their pennies, sixpences and shillings to keep the newspaper going.

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“Let the Home Secretary speak – he has the police in every part of the country to watch us, and in every part of the country they will find, in streets, factories, and organisations everywhere, pennies, three penny bits and sixpences being raised week after week, to keep that newspaper going.”

And this is where it became weird.

In a quick-witted response, Conservative MP Sir Archibald Southby responded: “What a shame”.

Mr Gallacher said: “If I had been for sale . . “

Sir Archibald scathingly replied: “Nobody would buy the hon. Member.

“He would not even get a bid.”

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Mr Gallacher then went on a further rant about how he had been propositioned before by people trying to buy his “principles”, but he never sold them.

He added: “Well it may be wrong or it may be right but it was before there was any Russian revolution or Soviet Government.

“There are Members here who have known me for 30 and 35 years and I am the same to-day, as far as my politics are concerned, as I was then.”

Very long story short, it appears as if Russia was trying to buy British MPs long before Putin's men were rumoured to be doing the same to the current crop of MPs.

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