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Baroness Trumpington admits her two-finger gesture at Lord King was for real

By Hamish Mackay

December 22, 2011 | 2 min read

Venerable Conservative peer, Baroness Trumpington, last night owned up to the real story behind a TV clip from the House of Lords which was carried by newspapers worldwide.

The 89-year-old peer, a former Mayor of Cambridge, explained on the BBC Parliament channel programme, Record Review, why she made a two-fingered gesture at a colleague during a debate in the House of Lords …but insisted they were still "jolly good friends".

When the picture of her two-fingered gesture was flashed around the world, Baroness Trumpington unconvincingly explained her “fingers had slipped”.

She had taken exception at remarks by ex-Cabinet minister Lord King suggesting veterans of the World War Two were getting "pretty old".

However, last night she confessed she meant the gesture but tried to pretend "her hand slipped".

The exchange between Baroness Trumpington and the former defence secretary took place in the House of Lords during a debate on the armistice, and became a huge hit on the internet.

Lord King was recalling how gradually the survivors of World War I "faded away" and "then the survivors of WWII started to look pretty old as well".

He then noted that Baroness Trumpington was the House's only remaining survivor from WWII, prompting the peer's response.

Reflecting on the incident, she explained that Lord King "to my horror suddenly said, more or less, even the people who worked in the last war, are starting to look very, very old.

"I thought to 'hell with that'. It was just meant to be between him and me.

"I did actually raise two fingers and I tried to pretend my hand had slipped but it was going to be quite obvious that my hand had not slipped and I meant it.

"In point of fact, he and I are jolly good friends. I just thought he had gone too far looking at me and saying 'how old I look'."

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