Sainsbury's CEO follows a long line of mic hiccups Article icon


1. 'You cannot trust people who have such bad cuisine'

The world found out that former French President Jacques Chirac was less than impressed with British food back in 2005 when he was caught disparaging it on tape to Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. 'The only thing that they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease,' declared Chirac.

Clearly, he’s never had a good roast. Alas.

 2. ‘I hate these people.’

In the same year that Chirac made his gaffe, Prince Charles was overheard making his displeasure known about the journalists gathered to cover the lead up to his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles. ‘I hate doing this...I hate these people,’ he told sons Princes William and Harry, without realising his microphone was on. When the BBC’s Nicholas Witchell asked a question, Charles answered it before turning to Harry and whispering: ‘Bloody people. I can’t bear that man. He’s so awful, he really is.’

Not a fan then?

 3. ‘Bigoted woman’

 In 2010, Gordon Brown was running for re-election as Prime Minister, but his already faltering canvassing efforts hit a further snag when he met 66-year-old Gillian Duffy on the campaign trail in Rochdale. Duffy questioned him on immigration, telling Brown that she was ashamed of admitting her political allegiances despite being a Labour voter ever since she could vote. Brown was polite but forgot that his microphone was still on as he got into his car, saying: ‘That was a disaster. They should never have put me with that woman. Ridiculous...bigoted woman.’

Needless to say, it didn’t win him any votes, and he lost the election a week later.

 4. ‘Bloody difficult woman’

In 2016, former Conservative cabinet minister Ken Clarke was caught on camera by Sky News criticising the Tory leadership candidates, going as far as calling Theresa May a ‘bloody difficult woman’, a description she has since reclaimed.

Clarke was having a conversation with Sir Malcolm Rifkind and, unaware that his comments were being recorded, added he would probably vote for May in the leadership election. He also commented on Michael Gove’s right-wing stance, saying it had caused ‘even Liam [Fox, who Clarke described as being ‘more right-wing than him]’ to raise eyebrows. However, every cloud... Clarke added that Gove ‘did us all a favour by getting rid of Boris [Johnson].’

 5. ‘Yo Blair!’

This was how then-American President George W Bush greeted UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at lunch during the 2006 G8 Summit.

Not realising his microphone was catching the informalities, Bush went on to thank Blair for the gift of a jumper, and began discussing a solution to the situation between Syria and Israel. ‘What they need to do,’ he said, ‘is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's all over.’

Simple, really.