Your mic’s still on! Seven best gaffes by politicians

BBC News picture of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown listening to a playback of his 'bigot' gaffe

BBC News picture of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown listening to a playback of his 'bigot' gaffe

Have your say

DAVID Cameron’s blundering comments about Yorkshire people “hating each other” are the latest in a line of famous clangers by politicians and public figures.

Listen: Cameron in off-camera jibe at Yorkshire

He was previously caught revealing how the Queen “purred” with pleasure when he told her Scots had rejected independence.

His controversial remarks were picked up by broadcast microphones on a trip to New York last year.

Gordon Brown famously described a potential Labour voter as “a bigoted woman” in a spectacular gaffe.

The former prime minister’s comments were unwittingly broadcast to the world during a campaign visit to Rochdale.

John Major excelled himself in Tokyo once by announcing to what he wrongly assumed was a dead microphone that he regarded some of the members of his Cabinet as “bastards” whom he would like to “crucify”.

He added: “Even as an ex-whip I cannot stop people sleeping with other people that they ought not...”

Perhaps the most celebrated of all such gaffes was President Ronald Reagan’s in 1984, when he said: “My fellow Americans. I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.”

James Callaghan, when he was prime minister, went into a radio studio in Leeds and, in a conversation with staff there, said: “What a nuisance and a waste of time it is to have to go into the House of Commons twice a week to answer questions.”

The Prince of Wales has also fallen for “live microphone syndrome” with his remarks about Nicholas Witchell, the BBC’s royal correspondent.

He said: “Bloody people. I can’t bear that man. I mean, he is so awful, he really is.”

Meanwhile, Kathleen Gingrich, mother of Newt Gingrich, a prominent US Republican politician, inadvertently let slip her son’s views about Hillary Clinton, who was then first lady of the United States.

“He thinks she’s a bitch,” she said.

Back to the top of the page