Current track

Title

Artist

Current show

The Drive Home

16:00 19:00


Are you on mute? PM’s audio troubles disrupt big coronavirus statement

Written by on 23/11/2020

It’s become a very normal part of 2020 – the video call technical breakdown – and even the prime minister isn’t immune.

Forced into a second phase of isolation after contact with a coronavirus-infected person, Boris Johnson was delivering his COVID-19 winter plan virtually, both to the nation and to colleagues in the Commons… when gremlins hit the link.

The PM had been in the middle of answering a question from Mark Harper, chair of the COVID Recovery Group, when his sound cut out.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears via video link from 10 Downing Street to make a statement to the House of Commons in London, setting out plans for a new three-tier system of controls for coronavirus, which will come into place once lockdown ends in England.
Image: The PM joked: ‘I’m not trying to avoid your scrutiny’

He could be seen speaking, and turning the pages of his notes, but nothing could be heard.

After an awkward pause, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle suggested: “Press the button Prime Minister….. Prime Minister!”

But nothing happened.

Sir Lindsay tried again: “Have you pressed the button by mistake? Muted?”

More from Covid-19

Back view of business woman making video call and showing thumb up to laptop on the online briefing while sit on sofa at home. (Back view of business woman making video call and showing thumb up to laptop on the online briefing while sit on sofa at ho
Image: The world has had to embrace video conferencing during the pandemic – warts and all

Again, no response, until a ripple of laughter spread through the chamber as MPs spotted the PM moving out of shot on-screen.

The House was suspended for three minutes while technical experts tried to get Mr Johnson back online but to no avail.

In the end, Health Secretary Matt Hancock was forced to step in for more than half an hour until Mr Johnson re-appeared.

Smiling, the PM said: “I’d like to reassure viewers that I am not in any way trying to avoid scrutiny by honourable members!”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

Tagged as