Hackney wasn't very happy that Jacqui Smith singled it out as an unsafe place to walk alone, late at night. We sympathise with Ms Smith as it's not our favourite place to hoik it home from in the small hours but it was bad press nonetheless. Spotting an opportunity to be a local hero, MP, Diane Abbott, bounced back for the borough and organised a late night stroll round the mean streets of Hackney, extending the invitation to the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Three Labour members - chairman Keith Vaz and colleagues Gwyn Prosser and Karen Buck joined Diane Abbott last night along with many members of the press, attracting bemused looks from local kids and shopkeepers alike. So, what did they make of Clapton's murder mile and Mare Street at chucking out time? Did they dare encroach on Morning Lane?
No, of course not. They went out in Stoke Newington Church Street.
OK, they stopped off at an estate and Keith Vaz "inspected a butternut squash" at a Mediterranean supermarket. But really, was a group of MPs encircled by the press really going to get trouble or feel unsafe on this daft jaunt? Send them out solo with an electronic tag and Blair Witch style camcorder next time - in almost any London Borough, frankly - and see what it's really like.
Image of sign on Stokey's Church St courtesy of Bettysnake's Flickrstream.