‘Have you pressed the button?’ – audio of PM lost in virtual Commons statement

By George Ryan, PA Parliamentary Reporter
·1-min read

Health Secretary Matt Hancock stepped into the Prime Minister’s shoes after Boris Johnson’s video link from Downing Street lost audio during a crucial statement on Covid-19.

The Commons was suspended for three minutes after the technical glitch, however, it was not fixed so Mr Hancock had to fill in.

There was a ripple of laughter from MPs in the chamber following the technical issues when the Prime Minister could be seen moving out of shot on-screen.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “Have you pressed the button Prime Minister? I think we’re just going to have to stop for a moment so we can have it checked…

“We’re just checking the sound Prime Minister, we lost your answer. Have you pressed the button by mistake Prime Minister? It’s not our end Prime Minister, it could well be yours.”

Prime Minister’s Questions
Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle

Sir Lindsay added: “Would Mr Hancock like to take over with the answer?”

Gesturing to the frontbench, the Speaker said: “Is one of you going to do it or not, it’s no good looking at one another? We’re going to suspend for three-minutes then.”

Mr Hancock, seated on the front bench, then took the next questions on behalf of Mr Johnson.

Sir Lindsay later suspended the Commons for a further five minutes, with another 63 MPs waiting to ask questions.

Mr Johnson returned on the screens in the chamber, claiming: “The problem does not appear to be our end, so I hope viewers will not think I’m in any way trying to avoid scrutiny by honourable members.”