8 Times UK Politicians Had An Absolute Shocker Of A Day In 2021

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Boris Johnson has had a rather turbulent year  (Photo: Leon Neal via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson has had a rather turbulent year (Photo: Leon Neal via Getty Images)

The last year has been a difficult one for everybody. But for some politicians, their rather sticky PR errors are likely to stick with them – and the rest of the population – for many years to come.

Here are the top eight most memorable political blunders from 2021, in no particular order.

1. Matt Hancock kissing his adviser

Then health secretary Hancock was filmed kissing his adviser Gina Coladangelo in his office, breaching the government’s own social distancing guidelines at the time.

When the footage was leaked in June, he initially maintained that he would not be stepping down. He soon resigned amid intense backlash and has since become a backbencher.

Hancock and his aide Coladangelo back in 2019 (Photo: Ian Forsyth via Getty Images)
Hancock and his aide Coladangelo back in 2019 (Photo: Ian Forsyth via Getty Images)

2. Boris Johnson and Peppa Pig

Boris Johnson did not win over anyone when his CBI speech went a little pear-shaped, and he chose to endorse Hampshire’s Peppa Pig World in a curious rant.

In the same speech, he lost his place for 20 long seconds, repeatedly asking the crowd to “forgive me” – a moment later mocked by Ant and Dec – before impersonating the sound of a car’s “brmm-brmm” engine.

3. Boris Johnson’s (alleged) parties

The prime minister has an ongoing problem with the allegations that No.10 was hosting parties at a time when the rest of the country was prohibited from most social activities under lockdown rules, back in December 2020.

Downing Street seemed unable to get its defence argument together when the story first broke, first denying that there was a party and then claiming all the rules were followed.

Things only got worse after a video emerged of Johnson’s special adviser Allegra Stratton laughing at the prospect of having to explain why No.10 was having a party.

The prime minister apologised for the video and Stratton stepped down – but as the evidence of gatherings in No.10 accumulated, the public outcry grew.

The incident also saw Ant and Dec hit out at the prime minister once again, this time ending their I’m A Celebrity skit with the words: “Good evening prime minister...for now...”

4. Michael Gove dancing

The current levelling up secretary was caught on camera enthusiastically busting a move in a Scottish nightclub back in August.

He did not hesitate to poke fun at himself, telling fellow Tories a few weeks later: “Dance like nobody’s watching they say. Well I did. But they were watching.”

Even Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood commented on the dancing minister, and said he would only award Gove a “3 out of 10” for his efforts.

Surprisingly, Gove then took to the dance floor again for the Conservative conference in Manchester, tearing up the dance floor with Tory MP Tom Tugendhat.

2. Gavin Williamson’s awkward mix-up

The former cabinet minister told journalists he had met child poverty campaigner – and England footballer – Marcus Rashford in the past, only for his team to later correct him and reveal he had actually spoken to Rugby Union player Maro Itoje instead.

This mistake prompted serious accusations of racism towards Williamson, and both Itoje and Rashford addressed the error publicly.

Then-education secretary also hit the headlines in August when he forgot his own A-level results live on air.

6. Angela Rayner’s ‘scum’ comments

Labour’s deputy leader landed herself in hot water after describing the Conservative Party as “scum”.

She later apologised and withdrew the remarks made at the Labour conference, but Conservatives still went on to wear badges with the words “Tory Scum” written on them.

7. Ministers talking about snogging

The health secretary ventured into the bizarre conversation around what the government advice was for Christmas this year as Covid cases soared.

As Downing Street struggled to get its public messaging straight around cautious Christmas parties, work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey urged people not to kiss strangers during the festive season.

The health secretary then said people could snog under the mistletoe, as long as they did it “cautiously” – admitting in the process that it’s a special tradition for him to kiss his wife under the mistletoe each year.

8. Dominic Raab forgets what misogyny means

The deputy prime minister and justice secretary spoke out against misogyny, but incorrectly described it as something which damages both women and men.

BBC host Sally Nugent then jumped in and read out the dictionary definition of misogyny to the minister, describing it as “hatred against, directed towards, women”.

Raab ignored her correction and continued talking about his aversion to turning misogyny into a hate crime.

Raab's blunder over the definition of misogyny shocked many (Photo: Leon Neal via Getty Images)
Raab's blunder over the definition of misogyny shocked many (Photo: Leon Neal via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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