Ken Clarke learns the dangers of microphones as he says what he really thinks about the Tory leadership candidates

The former Justice Secretary must have thought the microphone was off... but Sky defends its use of the footage


When will politicians learn that a microphone can be a dangerous thing?


Ken Clarke, the former Justice Secretary, was between interviews on Sky News with fellow Tory Sir Malcolm Rifkind when he said a number of things that he probably presumed were not for public consumption.

He expressed pleasure that Boris Johnson was no longer a candidate for Prime Minister, said Michael Gove was too right wing to be Prime Minister and called another leadership hopeful Theresa May a “bloody difficult woman”.

Sir Malcolm, meanwhile, said he wanted Gove to come third and Clarke added that if Gove became Prime Minister we would “go to war with three countries at once”.

It’s heady stuff.

Some observers have wondered whether Sky should have used the footage when Rifkind and Clarke clearly thought the cameras were off them.

Although opinion was divided:

However the broadcaster defended its actions: “Ken Clarke had just finished a live TV interview and was still sitting in front of a live camera and microphone when he discussed the Conservative Party leadership contest with Sir Malcolm Rifkind.


“Their conversation revealed important insights about those vying not just to be Conservative Party leader, but also Prime Minister. We believe that there is a strong public interest in their views being known.”