Six of the best: Political gaffes

George Osborne eating a burger and chips as he put the "finishing touches" to the spending review. PIC: PA
George Osborne eating a burger and chips as he put the "finishing touches" to the spending review. PIC: PA
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In a week when Tory MP Tim Loughton was caught trying to sign up to the Labour Party with the intention of, as he put it, ‘exposing the farce’ of their new leadership election system, we look at six other political nosedives


Looking a bit like he’d fallen asleep while standing up with his eyes open, John Redwood managed to embarrass himself on live TV while pretending to know the words to the Welsh national anthem.

Then Secretary of State for Wales under John Major’s Tory government, he managed to mouth his way through the verse, occasionally tilting his head from side to side, while his eyes seemed to be watching an imaginary fly.

It wasn’t the only gaffe he made - he also attempted to unsuccessfully usurp leader John Major in 1995. His Welsh anthem video has garnered 169,000 Youtube hits.


Back in 2013 when the Credit Crunch seemed like a new way of life, Chancellor George Osborne was trying to do that thing politicians occasionally obsess about and ‘be one of the people’... by eating a hamburger ‘al desko’.

Mr Austerity had an aide tweet a picture of him chowing down on the fast food treat and put a couple of cans of diet coke in the background for good measure.

Unfortunately, his attempt to connect with the electorate backfired after it was revealed he’d forked out £6.75 on the Byron burger rather than a 99p Maccy D’s.


There are many things to catch politicians out but bacon sandwiches don’t normally feature on their ‘avoid’ list, which made Labour hopeful Ed Miliband’s stage managed canteen press call all the more cringeworthy.

As the former Labour Party leader attempted to show he was just like us, he proceeded to make a right old pig’s ear of what is to most people a relatively routine activity. It was agonising to watch and although he was ridicules for it at the time, he later joked about “wrestling with a bacon sarnie on live TV”.


Labour heavyweight Gordon Brown may have managed to muscle out Tony Blair to bag the keys to Number 10 but he met his match in pensioner Gillian Duffy after the 65-year-old challenged him on crime and immigration.

Brown smiled and managed to tick off all the boxes in the Politicians Guide to Dealing with Hecklers, then smiled broadly and made his getaway but then forgot he was still wearing a microphone, before blasting Mrs Duffy as “that biggoted woman”.

The resulting debacle saw him apologising to Mrs Duffy on live radio.


It’s not just politicians who are prone to ‘political gaffes’ - sometimes it’s those who make their living from mocking them, as comedian and actor Alan Davies found out when he tweeted that the late Lord McAlpine was at the centre of paedophile allegations, when he wasn’t. The peer, who died in 2014, was innocent and sued Davies, along with Sally Bercow and thousands of other twitter users who re-tweeted the libelous comments.

Davies paid £15,000 and Bercow had to pay up too, as did the twitter masses, who were hit with more modest sums.


He might walking the walk and talking the talk but even David Cameron can make a fool of himself without knowing it, as he appeared to do when he tweeted a ‘selfie’ of him calling US President Obama. Cameron looked serious, determined, driven and possibly even slightly possessed but his attempt to pull back the curtains of power merely ended up with numerous celebrities, from Patrick Stewart to actor Rob Delaney posting their own ‘conference call’ pictures, albeit holding ridiculous objects to their ears.

Maybe Cameron was just ordering a takeout...