Malcolm Tucker – the former director of communications in the U.K.’s last Labour government – has been arrested in the tiny village of Graceville, Florida follwing an incident with a local shopkeeper in which he reportedly swore 47 times.
The 54 year old Scotsman was holidaying in the nearby resort town of Panama City Beach, and became lost while driving to find a better signal for his Blackberry.
Tucker wound up deep in a remote, rural area of the Florida panhandle. As he entered the town of Graceville – a hamlet of 2,000 people known mostly as the home of Florida Baptist College – he stopped off at the Service Drug Store to ask for directions.
North Sector Pathfinders
Billy Johnson manages the store and also serves as Graceville’s police chief. He read aloud his version of events to reporters at a press conference earlier today:
“Mr. Tucker entered my store and asked me ‘how the F-word do I get out of this dumb F-word town. The F-word car hire company gave me a F-word GPS that’s programmed to find Mecca or something, it can’t stop facing East.”
“As he looked around my store he then said ‘Jesus Christ. This place looks like Deliverance without all the actors and camera people.’ ”
“Despite the fact Mr. Tucker used the good Lord’s name in vain, I offered to help him find his way if he told me where he wanted to go. He told me he wanted to go back to England, and I told him I didn’t know how to get him there, at which point he became irate.”
“He proceeded to tell me I looked like a “walking advert for insulin shots” and said that they should put my face on the front of Twinkie bars as a warning to children about the dangers of overeating.”
“At this point I asked Mr. Tucker to leave my store because he was causing a disturbance to my customers.”
“Mr. Tucker then proceeded to tell me to that my store smelled worse than my mother’s C-word after a harbor-front marathon and attempted to exit the premises.”
“At that point I decided that I needed to apprehend Mr. Tucker in my capacity as police chief and held him for the crime of speaking obsinity in public.”
Fall of the Cussers
Tucker is expected to go before a judge in a few days. He faces a maximum sentence of two weeks in jail and a 500 dollar fine.
Downing Street had no comment on today’s incident. The British Consulate in Miami says its ready to provide assistance if requested.
Tucker is well known to the British public for his participation in the long-running BBC documentary series The Thick of It, which profiles the inner-workings of the government’s Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC).
The fourth series of the documentary – taped earlier this year – begins airing tonight.