Advertisement

Why Rishi Sunak's viral hammer clip isn't all it seems

FARSLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 23:  British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, next to Emma White, hammers a piece of jewellery during a meeting with small business owners from Sunny Bank Mills, at The Emma White Jewellery Studio in Sunny Bank Mills on November 23, 2023, Farsley, England.  (Photo by Molly Darlington/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak uses the side of the hammer - as per instructions - at The Emma White Jewellery Studio. (Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak is often accused of being out of touch with the public.

Last year, when he was chancellor - and in charge of the nation’s money - he famously appeared to struggle to use a contactless payment card during a photo opportunity at a petrol station.

Worse yet came during last year’s Conservative leadership campaign, when footage emerged of a young Sunak saying his friends are “not working class”.

So, when a viral video emerged on Friday of the grinning prime minister using the side of a hammer to hit a nail while making a piece of jewellery, there was further ammunition for his detractors.

The apparent gaffe happened on Thursday, when Sunak was visiting a jewellery studio in Farsley.

FARSLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 23:  British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, next to Emma White, hammers a piece of jewellery during a meeting with small business owners from Sunny Bank Mills, at The Emma White Jewellery Studio in Sunny Bank Mills on November 23, 2023, Farsley, England.  (Photo by Molly Darlington/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak with Emma White on Thursday. (Getty Images)

The Labour Party was quick (perhaps too quick) to seize on the footage. It posted the video (see further down this page) on X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption: “Rishi Sunak: not the son of a toolmaker.

The party also added a line to the video itself reading: “Man who hammers working people can’t work a hammer.”

Elsewhere, some people compared it to former Labour leader Ed Miliband awkwardly eating a bacon sandwich - an incident which has its own Wikipedia page.

And yet… the clip of Sunak and his hammer wasn’t all it seemed for a simple reason: he was told to use the side of the hammer.

Recommended reading

The hammer footage which went viral did not include this moment - making it appear Sunak was using the side of the hammer of his own accord.

However, in the full clip, Sunak takes instruction from jeweller and business owner Emma White who tells him, while pointing to the side of the hammer: “You’re going to use this bit.”

Sunak asked: “Sideways?” White responded: “Yeah.”

Here are the differing versions of the video. First is the shortened version which went viral. Second is the full version in which Sunak is told to use the side of the hammer.

Labour's video had been viewed more than one million times on X as of 5pm on Friday.

After Tory chair Richard Holden pointed out the full clip, the party's separate press account posted: "URGENT CORRECTION:

"MAN WHO HAMMERS WORKING PEOPLE USES HAMMER AS INSTRUCTED."