BBC News accidentally broadcasts candid commentary during Labour splitter press conference

A stray microphone caught some spectacularly brutal remarks

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Labour MP Chuka Umunna announces his resignation from the Labour Party at a press conference on February 18, 2019 in London, England. Chuka Umunna MP along with Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Anne Coffey and Mike Gapes have announced they have resigned from the Labour Party and will sit in the House of Commons as The Independent Group of Members of Parliament. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

BBC News has been treating viewers to some unplanned commentary.

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Warning: swearing follows in tweets and video clips

During its live coverage of the Labour split press conference – in which seven MPs, including former Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna, announced their resignation from the Labour party – a mystery voiceover was heard sharing some unfortunate remarks.

As Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, took questions from the audience, some off-the-cuff – and very strongly-worded – insights were picked up on a stray microphone. “Not going to lie, between this and Brexit we’re actually f***ed,” a man was heard saying.

“It’s going to be so divided, the Conservatives are going to win.”

Futhermore, earlier in the broadcast, a voice could be heard saying “he’s mad” off-camera while Umunna gave a speech.

BBC presenter Samira Ahmed later apologised on air about the comments: “I should say for those who were listening to that live news conference, there was some bad language apparently, so we do apologise if anyone was offended by what they might have heard.”

However, some viewers appeared to enjoy the ad hoc commentary.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a stray microphone has caused trouble on the news. In 2010, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown infamously described a voter he had just been speaking to, Gillian Duffy, as a “sort of bigoted woman”, not realising his comments were being recorded.

More recently, Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe didn’t realise he was being filmed as he sang “We’re in the money” before taking part in an interview about the supermarket’s £12 billion merger with Asda.

Meanwhile, the seven MPs – Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Chris Leslie and Ann Coffey – have quit the Labour Party, citing concerns with leader Jeremy Corbyn. They’ve now dubbed themselves The Independent Group.

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It’s likely we’re be hearing more from them in the next few days. Hopefully with some impromptu and downright brutal political analysis in the background.


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