Is Labour wooing 'Wichita woman'? Frontbencher can't pronounce Worcester in BBC gaffe (From Worcester News)
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Is Labour wooing 'Wichita woman'? Frontbencher can't pronounce Worcester in BBC gaffe
ONE of the Labour Party's most senior figures has been embroiled in an embarrassing cock-up - after pronouncing Worcester as "Wichita".
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, dubbed as one of Ed Miliband's rising stars, went onto a live BBC local radio interview and appeared to get Worcester mixed up with Wichita, a city in Kansas in the USA.
His error has been leapt upon by Conservative Worcester MP Robin Walker, who said his rival had made an "extraordinary" gaffe.
Mr Umunna was being interviewed on BBC Hereford and Worcester to discuss Labour plans to devolve billions of pounds in economic funding to the regions on Tuesday morning.
Breakfast show host Howard Bentham told him few people know about the funding streams Labour was focussed on.
Mr Umunna said: "I doubt most people on the streets in Hereford and Wichita know what a local enterprise partnership is about but your local branch of the chambers of commerce or federation of small businesses, they will know what that’s about."
Mr Umunna's first official visit as shadow business secretary in 2011 was to Worcester Bosch with Mr Miliband.
Mr Walker said: "It's extraordinary for a party that claims to be interested in the city to be getting this kind of thing wrong.
"There is a serious side to this.
"It shows that they continue to be a metropolitan party focussed on the big cities, rather than places like Worcester.
A Labour spokesman yesterday said it was a "mistake" and that it came amid multiple radio interviews.
"This was a mistake in one of many breakfast radio interviews Chuka has done this week promoting Labour’s ambitious plans to decentralise power and spur better-balanced growth," he said.
"The fact is that of course Chuka knows how to pronounce the name - he simply made a mistake in a live interview."