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Prime Minister Boris Johnson got an unexpected laugh in the Commons today when his Zoom connection to the main chamber failed.
He was answering a question from his Conservative colleague Mark Harper, the MP for Forest of Dean, when his sound unexpectedly dropped.
The Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, assured the PM that the problem was at his end and asked if he had accidentally pressed “mute.”
As the key debate descended into chaos, Shadow health minister Justin Madders tweeted: “Turn it on and off again Boris!”
Another MP tickled by the broadband shenanigans, the SNP's Pete Wishart posted: “Johnson’s been muted. An ancient nation rejoices….”
Before the connection failed, Mr Harper had just pointed out that for people living in areas that were being placed in Tier 3, they would have trouble telling the difference between that and the current lockdown and asked for an outline of the various Tiers, and what effect he expected them to have.
Mr Johnson – who had just been boasting that his government was overseeing scientific advances “undreamed of” by any previous administration – was shuffling his papers and trying to come up with an answer when the sound suddenly went dead.
Sir Lindsay asked him a few times “have you pressed the button Prime Minister” as nervous laughter filled the chamber. Lib Dem leader Ed Davey quipped “It makes the case for investing in broadband,” as the Speaker suspended proceedings for three minutes.
As he did so, Mr Johnson could be angrily shouting “some problem with the sound” over his dodgy connection.
Health Minister Matt Hancock took over for the now-silenced PM, who must be hoping his technical gremlins are tied for his big announcement at 7pm
Predictably, social media is having a lot of fun at the Prime Minster's expense. Twitter user Mike Holden flagged the technical disaster up to comic actor Michael Spicer – who specialises in satirical political video – saying "Easiest one ever. Say what you want Mike!" and journalist Michael Deacon added "So the Prime Minister can't answer MPs' questions on Covid because he can't work his laptop and no one can come in and help him work it because he's self-isolating"
- Boris Johnson
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