‘He didn’t answer my question’: BBC’s Kuenssberg complains about PM in microphone blunder at Covid briefing

BBC political editor appeared to believe she had been taken off air before comment

Sam Hancock
Wednesday 10 February 2021 19:16
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Laura Kuenssberg caught complaining about Boris Johnson during Covid briefing

The BBC’s political editor was caught complaining about Boris Johnson failing to answer her question during a Downing Street coronavirus press conference.

Laura Kuenssberg could be heard as the prime minister turned to another journalist following their exchange during Wednesday's briefing.

“Oh, he didn’t answer the question there,” she said with a groan, apparently assuming she was no longer audible as Mr Johnson introduced the next question.

Ms Kuenssberg had asked the PM if it was too early for “members of the British public to book their summer holidays or not – whether at home or abroad”.

“The health secretary this morning warned people against booking anything at all,” she put to the prime minister.

In a typically convoluted response, Mr Johnson said “the best” he could offer was to repeat that by 22 February, he would be “setting out a roadmap” to get the UK out of lockdown.

“There’s not an awful long delay between now and then but I hope I’ll be able to give more clarity to people then, Laura,” Mr Johnson said.

Ms Kuenssberg also asked Sir Patrick Vallace, chief government scientific adviser, “how concerned” he was about the new variant of Covid “that has been picked up in Bristol” off the back of reports there had been “14 new cases” of it and that “it is more transmissible”.

Stressing that the situation was being monitored, Sir Patrick responded: “The Bristol variant has got one of the changes that the South African variant has got as well. It is not surprising that it has happened and it will happen elsewhere as well.

“In getting that variant it does make it slightly more likely to look different to the immune system so we need to watch out for it. We need to keep on top and need to keep testing the vaccine effects in this situation.”

It was not immediately clear who Ms Kuenssberg was criticising for failing to answer her but many viewers took her comment to be referring to the prime minister.

Hundreds of people subsequently took to Twitter to praise the journalist for “finally saying what we have all been thinking for the past year”, as one woman put it.

“Is Laura Kuenssberg really surprised NOW that Boris doesn’t answer her questions properly? When has he ever answered a question straight, if at all?” added another user.

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